Bush's Health Insurance Proposal

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

The White House says the president's plan would mean savings for 80% of Americans. He proposed a standard deduction of $15,000 for families ($7,500 for individuals) for insurance. He proposed also that a benefit over $15,000 from a company would be considered taxable income.

In Michigan, that means some state employees may be subject to more taxes. They pay a 5% premium on plans that do approach, and sometimes pass that $15,000 value.

Executive VP of SEIU Local 517M, Phillip Thompson, says most plans are worth between $7,000 and approximately $16,000.

"State employees have picked up deductible and copays," Thompson says. "Just to throw a tax shell on top, we wouldn't support it."

Instead, he challenges the president to find a way to insure more people, without putting the burden on the working class.

The Michigan State Medical Society on the other hand says everything should be on the table. Dr. Kenneth Elmassian, a member of their board of directors, says if the president's plan could get more people insured, it would be a success.

He cautions, "You're always concerned with quick fixes, magic bullets," but says it's worth consideration if it chips away at the problem of the unisured.

He added, "If that's what this endeavours to do that we applaud it and look forward to embracing it."

Universal health coverage is their goal. A conversation, Elmassian says, is a start.

The president also proposed using some federal funds for state's that are subsidizing health coverage. The governor proposed such a plan last spring. It has not been introduced in the legislature.


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