Expand Group Health Insurance, Experts Say

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<p>When asked to consider the health reform proposals of the 2008 presidential candidates, most leaders in the fields of health care and health policy favor plans that build on the nation's current mixed system of public and private group insurance, according to the latest <a href="/publications/data-briefs/2008/jan/health-care-opinion-leaders-views-on-the-presidential-candidates-health-reform-plans
">Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey.</a><br><bR>Key elements of the mixed private-public proposals--which have been put forward by senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards--received widespread support from the survey respondents, who represent a diverse range of professional and ideological perspectives. More than four of five, for example, said they favor a requirement that all individuals obtain health insurance, with premium assistance available for low- and moderate-income Americans. Most respondents also support requiring employers to either offer coverage to employees or pay a percentage of their payroll to help finance expanded coverage.<bR><br>Candidates' proposals that would rely on tax incentives to help individuals purchase coverage themselves were viewed by these same experts as ineffective strategies for achieving universal health care coverage or containing health care costs.<br><br>For additional perspective on the survey's findings, read commentaries by <a href=" http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_… L. Salisbury,</a> president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute and a member of The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, and <a href="/publications/commentaries/2008/jan/reform-is-no-either-or--we-must-fix-the-payment-system-along-with-access
">Darrell Kirch, M.D.,</a> president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges.</p>