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 Home > News & Policies > February 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 21, 2007

Fact Sheet: Helping More Americans Afford Health Insurance

     Fact sheet President Bush Participates in a Roundtable on Health Care Initiatives
     Fact sheet In Focus: Health Care

Today, President Bush Participated In A Conversation On Health Care Initiatives In Chattanooga, Tennessee. In his State of the Union Address, the President proposed a standard deduction for health insurance to make private health insurance more affordable and to level the playing field so those who buy health insurance on their own get the same tax advantage as those who get health insurance through their jobs. He also proposed the Affordable Choices Initiative to help eligible States assist their poor and hard-to-insure citizens in purchasing private health insurance.

  • The President Also Participated In A Tour Of Erlanger Hospital – Baroness Campus. Each year, more than 250,000 people receive health care at Erlanger Hospital, including 26,000 cases with uninsured patients last year. The hospital operates efficiently and earns a small surplus. One key to its success is its investment in health information technology, including automated medical records for patients and digital technology to transmit health information to physicians.

Helping More Americans Afford Coverage With A Standard Deduction For Health Insurance

The Current Tax Code Is Unfair To Americans Who Do Not Get Health Insurance Through Their Jobs. Unlike those who get insurance through their jobs, people who buy health insurance on their own have to pay for it with after-tax dollars and receive no assistance from the tax code. Americans who are self-employed pay no income taxes on their premiums, but because they still owe payroll taxes, they are also disadvantaged compared to those who get insurance through their employers.

  • Under Current Law, The Tax Code Also Pushes People Toward Expensive Health Insurance And Lower Wages. The more expensive the health insurance plan people receive through their employers, the more tax relief they get. This makes the insurance market less competitive and pushes up prices for everyone by encouraging many workers to choose more expensive health insurance than they would choose if the tax code were not distorting their decision.

The President Has Proposed Replacing Our Current Health Insurance Tax System With A Standard Deduction For Health Insurance. Under the President's proposal, families with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $15,000 dollars of income. Single Americans with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of income.

  • Under The President's Proposal, More Than 100 Million Men, Women, And Children Who Are Now Covered By Employer-Provided Insurance Will Benefit From Lower Tax Bills.
  • The President's Proposal Will Level The Playing Field For Those Who Buy Insurance On Their Own, Saving These Individuals Money On Their Taxes.
  • For The Millions Of Americans Who Have No Health Insurance, The Standard Deduction Would Help Put A Basic Private Health Insurance Plan Within Reach.

Helping The Poor And Hard-To-Insure Afford Coverage Through The Affordable Choices Initiative

The President's Proposed Affordable Choices Initiative Will Help Governors Reduce The Number Of People In Their States Without Private Health Insurance. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive Federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick. Under the Affordable Choices Initiative, existing Federal funds would be used to create Affordable Choices grants to give eligible governors more money and more flexibility to get private health insurance to those most in need.

The President Has A Broad Agenda To Help More Americans Afford Health Care

  1. Keeping The Promises Of Medicare And Medicaid. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare and Medicaid for their health care needs, but spending for these programs is growing faster than our ability to pay for them. Our growing economy gives us an opportunity to address the challenge of runaway entitlement spending growth from a position of strength, and Congress needs to live up to its responsibility by coming together to fix Medicare and Medicaid.
  2. Expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). HSAs allow people to save money for health care tax-free and to take these accounts with them if they move from job to job.
  3. Strengthening The Buying Power Of America's Small Businesses By Forming Association Health Plans (AHPs). Small businesses, as well as civic and community groups, should be allowed to band together in AHPs to get the same discounts big companies receive.
  4. Improving The Adoption Of Health Information Technology. Electronic health records improve the efficiency and effectiveness of medical treatment. In 2004, the President launched an initiative to make electronic health records available to most Americans within the next 10 years, while assuring privacy and security, and he has directed Federal agencies to use improved health IT systems.
  5. Increasing The Transparency Of America's Health Care System. Increased transparency about prices and quality will help bring more competition to health care, restraining its rising costs. The President has directed Federal agencies to share information with beneficiaries about prices paid to health care providers for procedures and about the quality of services provided by doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers.

Three Case Studies: Health Insurance More Accessible And Affordable Under President's Plan

The information below demonstrates how much money three Tennesseans participating in the President's event today in Chattanooga would save under the President's proposed standard deduction for health insurance.

Danny Jennings, Manager, Tennessee Valley Nursery (McMinnville, Tenn.)

Currently Uninsured; Married, 2 Children

  • Monthly Cost Of Health Insurance Today Would Be: $425.83
  • Monthly Net Cost Of Health Insurance Under The President's Proposal: $47.08
  • Monthly Savings: $378 ($4536 per year)
    • Assumes he would purchase a family insurance plan in Chattanooga that costs $5,110 (as quoted on inflated to 2009 dollars).
        • $5,150 deductible and out-of-pocket maximu
        • Preventive care for no cost
        • Includes prescription drugs and chiropractic
        • $5 million maximum lifetime benefit per person

Martha Ginn, Office Manager, Womack Motor Company (McMinnville, Tenn.)

Currently Uninsured; Single

  • Monthly Cost Of Health Insurance Today Would Be: $212.08
  • Monthly Net Cost Of Health Insurance Under The President's Proposal: $51.09
  • Monthly Savings: $160 ($1920 per year)
    • Assumes she would purchase an individual insurance plan in Chattanooga that costs $2,545 (as quoted on inflated to 2009 dollars).
      • $5,000 deductible and out-of-pocket maximum
      • 100% of Well-woman annual exam covered after $35 deductible
      • 100% of Preventive care covered (mammogram, cervical cancer screening)
      • Includes prescription drugs with $10, $35, and $50 co-pay.
      • $5 million maximum lifetime benefit per person

Amy Childers, Interior Designer, Lumen Lamps (Nashville, Tenn.)

Currently Purchases Insurance On Individual Market

  • Monthly Increase In Take-Home Pay Under The President's Proposal: $189 (No change in insurance; $2268 per year)

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