updated: 7/21/2006 8:13:41 AM

Bayh Proposes Legislation to Ease Rising Cost of Healthcare

InsideIndianaBusiness.com Report

  Indiana Senator Evan Bayh says the rising cost of health care for small businesses is a major economic growth issue.

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is proposing legislation he says could help cut health care insurance premiums by as much as 20 percent for small businesses and individuals.

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Bayh's proposal calls for government to cover 75 percent of health costs for anyone whose health insurance claims exceed $50,000. Bayh says the rising cost of health insurance is threatening the success of working Americans.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Evan Bayh today announced plans to introduce legislation that will offer economic relief to working Hoosier families struggling with rising health care costs. On the heels of a speech targeting Middle Class Americans, Bayh took aim at the high cost of health insurance, one of several challenges he outlined Monday as a threat to the success of working Americans.

“A middle class life has never been easy, but with health care costs growing, it’s getting harder by the day,” Senator Bayh said. “Rising health care costs are squeezing family budgets and hurting small businesses, the engine of economic growth in Indiana. My legislation could cut insurance premiums by as much as 20 percent for small businesses and individuals, helping more than one million Hoosiers.”

Over the last five years, the cost of health insurance has outpaced the increase in a person’s income by wide margins. Premiums for family health insurance coverage have increased by 54 percent, while wages have increased by only 15 percent. Much of the cost comes from the risk of catastrophic illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease or stroke. In fact, the sickest one percent of Americans account for 28 percent of health care costs in the United States, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Under Bayh’s proposal, the government would limit the risk faced by small businesses and individuals by covering 75 percent of health costs for anyone whose health insurance claims exceed $50,000. The plan could reduce premiums by up to 20 percent for more than 1.2 million Hoosiers.

“People ask me about health care more than any other domestic issue,” Senator Bayh said. “I’ve heard from small businesses who can’t hire new workers because they can’t afford the insurance and from families who worry over how an unexpected illness would impact their savings. While we cannot solve this problem today, we need to start, and my proposal is a step in the right direction.”

In the Senate, Bayh offered an amendment to protect families facing emergency health situations from the new bankruptcy requirements passed last year. Congress later included a provision based on Bayh’s amendment to protect families that have been impacted by catastrophic illness. Bayh has also introduced legislation to address the long-term care costs for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Two of his provisions were enacted earlier this year, helping more families afford to care for loved ones at home and providing seniors with greater choices regarding their long-term care options.

Source: Office of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh

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