Granger and Wynn Hold News Conference on Tax Credit Bill

Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) and Congressman Albert Wynn (D-MD) held a news conference yesterday on Capitol Hill to highlight the introduction of the Securing Access, Value, and Equality (SAVE) in Health Care Act. The SAVE Act proposal would provide a pre-payable, fully refundable tax credit to individuals and families to choose an affordable health plan that fits their needs.

The Granger-Wynn proposal would provide a base credit of $1,000 per individual, $2,000 per married couple and $500 per child up to a maximum of $3,000 per family per year. In addition, the SAVE Act would subsidize 50 percent of any premiums above the base credit. The proposed credit phases out at incomes of $65,000 for individuals and $105,000 for couples. Twenty-five percent of the base credit would be available to workers who pay a portion of their employer-sponsored health insurance premiums.

The sponsors of the bill emphasized that this tax credit legislation could go a long way towards reducing the number of uninsured Americans. Congressman Wynn estimated that as many as 35 million people, or 85 percent of the uninsured, could be helped by these credits.

“The SAVE Act will provide access to coverage for those who are shut out of our current health system, give patients more choices, and create a level playing field by offering all Americans-regardless of employment status-an option to get the care they need,” said Granger.


Heritage on Adverse Selection in the FEHBP

The Heritage Foundation also held a luncheon yesterday at the St. Regis Hotel to discuss risk selection in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The journal Health Affairs co-sponsored the event.

Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University presented the findings of a study showing very little risk selection in the FEHBP, a program with much variation in plan design. The average age of enrollees was about the same in plans with low, medium, or high premiums. Thorpe attributed much of this to the fact that the government subsidizes 75% of the premium cost. The results were similar when looking only at the Medicare eligible workers within the FEHBP. The study can be found in the March/April edition of Health Affairs.

Walt Francis of the Public Policy Network said the government’s share of premiums in the FEHBP is really about 83% when the tax advantages are taken into account. “We’re getting to a point where employees have very little stake in shopping for a cheaper plan,” said Francis. Francis said that allowing people to make decisions between competing plans that offer varying benefits leads to a market with modernized benefit packages and keeps costs down.

Gail Wilensky of Project Hope said the FEHBP has “been lucky so far” that it has not experienced more adverse selection, and that it would be wise to adopt some kind of risk adjustment in the program, as well as in a reformed Medicare program.

–Joe Moser
Galen Institute

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Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) and Congressman Albert Wynn (D-MD) held a news conference yesterday on Capitol Hill to highlight the introduction of the Securing Access, Value, and Equality (SAVE) in Health Care Act. The SAVE Act proposal would provide a pre-payable, fully refundable tax credit to individuals and families to choose an affordable health plan that fits their needs.

The Granger-Wynn proposal would provide a base credit of $1,000 per individual, $2,000 per married couple and $500 per child up to a maximum of $3,000 per family per year. In addition, the SAVE Act would subsidize 50 percent of any premiums above the base credit. The proposed credit phases out at incomes of $65,000 for individuals and $105,000 for couples. Twenty-five percent of the base credit would be available to workers who pay a portion of their employer-sponsored health insurance premiums.

The sponsors of the bill emphasized that this tax credit legislation could go a long way towards reducing the number of uninsured Americans. Congressman Wynn estimated that as many as 35 million people, or 85 percent of the uninsured, could be helped by these credits.

“The SAVE Act will provide access to coverage for those who are shut out of our current health system, give patients more choices, and create a level playing field by offering all Americans-regardless of employment status-an option to get the care they need,” said Granger.


Heritage on Adverse Selection in the FEHBP

The Heritage Foundation also held a luncheon yesterday at the St. Regis Hotel to discuss risk selection in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The journal Health Affairs co-sponsored the event.

Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University presented the findings of a study showing very little risk selection in the FEHBP, a program with much variation in plan design. The average age of enrollees was about the same in plans with low, medium, or high premiums. Thorpe attributed much of this to the fact that the government subsidizes 75% of the premium cost. The results were similar when looking only at the Medicare eligible workers within the FEHBP. The study can be found in the March/April edition of Health Affairs.

Walt Francis of the Public Policy Network said the government’s share of premiums in the FEHBP is really about 83% when the tax advantages are taken into account. “We’re getting to a point where employees have very little stake in shopping for a cheaper plan,” said Francis. Francis said that allowing people to make decisions between competing plans that offer varying benefits leads to a market with modernized benefit packages and keeps costs down.

Gail Wilensky of Project Hope said the FEHBP has “been lucky so far” that it has not experienced more adverse selection, and that it would be wise to adopt some kind of risk adjustment in the program, as well as in a reformed Medicare program.

–Joe Moser
Galen Institute

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About the author