Health Insurance:

Proposals for Expanding Private and Public Coverage

GAO-01-481T: Published: Mar 15, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 2001.

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Various approaches have been proposed to increase private and public health care coverage of uninsured persons. The success of these proposals will depend on several key factors. The impact of tax subsidies on promoting private health insurance will depend on whether the subsidies reduce premiums enough to induce uninsured low-income individuals to buy health insurance and on whether these subsidies can be made available at the time the person needs to pay premiums. The effectiveness of public program expansions will depend on states' ability and willingness to use any new flexibility to cover uninsured residents as well as develop effective outreach to enroll the targeted populations. Although crowd-out is a concern with any of the approaches, some degree of public funds going to those currently with private health insurance may be inevitable to provide stable health coverage for some of the 42 million uninsured Americans.

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