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How to Make Tax Credits for Health Insurance Work:
The Role of Purchasing Pools
Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Overview and Presentation of Research Findings
Sally Trude, Senior Researcher
Panel Discussion about Issues and Policy Responses
John M. Bertko, Vice President and Chief Actuary
Stuart M. Butler, Vice President
Richard E. Curtis, President
Mark A. Hall, Professor of Law and Public Health
John McManus, Majority Staff Director
Philip J. Vogel, Senior Vice President
Paul B. Ginsburg, President
With the Bush administration’s $1.6 trillion tax cut proposal already on the table, many people believe that significant tax legislation has a real chance of passing Congress this year. Both Congressional Republicans and Democrats have warmed to the idea of using tax credits and private markets to help expand health insurance coverage to the estimated 43 million uninsured Americans. But tax credits alone may not make much of a dent in the ranks of the uninsured without substantial reforms to the small group and individual health insurance markets. Without market reforms, proponents contend, tax credits will do little to make coverage affordable. As an alternative, tax credit legislation could include provisions to encourage the creation of purchasing pools, allowing individuals and small groups to gain the advantages available to larger groups by spreading risk over a larger population. The payoff might be lower costs and more choice for individuals and small employers purchasing insurance with tax credits.
The Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) is hosting this conference to examine how purchasing pools might enhance the effectiveness of health insurance tax credits. Drawing on HSC research on small-employer purchasing pools, experts will assess the advantages and disadvantages of including provisions to encourage purchasing pools in possible tax credit legislation.
Overview Presentation. HSC Senior Researcher Sally Trude will provide an overview of the potential role of purchasing pools in tax credit policy. She will present HSC and other research findings to provide context for a panel discussion about the kinds of policy interventions and market responses needed to make tax credits and purchasing pools work.
Panel Discussion. A diverse panel of experts will discuss the role of purchasing pools in tax credit policy, weighing the potential advantages and disadvantages and considering what kinds of individuals and organizations would likely benefit and why. Panelists will discuss the role—and reaction—of insurers and brokers/agents and the implications for other purchasing entities in the market. Key issues related to creating or dissolving risk pools also will be covered. Each of the sessions will be followed by a question-and-answer period.
Questions Addressed Include: