IOM wants universal health insurance coverage by end of decade

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The Institute of Medicine said Tuesday that Americans should have universal health coverage by 2010. An IOM report called on Congress and the White House to act, noting that the number of uninsured Americans continued to swell, hitting 43.6 million in 2002. The report is the sixth in a series on the uninsured.

The IOM reviewed four models of coverage without recommending one over another. They were: a single-payer system run by the federal government; employer-based mandatory coverage; mandatory individual coverage with a refundable tax credit; and an extension of Medicare to 55-year-olds, combined with the merging of Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

 

The report said that little progress has been made over the last 20 years in reducing the rates of uninsured. As many as 18,000 people die each year as a consequence of not having insurance, according to the IOM. Its report can be found at www.nationalacademies.org/.