Roybal Proposes National Health Insurance Program

Associated Press

The chairman of the House Aging Committee on Sunday proposed a national health insurance program replacing Medicare, Medicaid and virtually all private health insurance, to be financed through tax increases.

Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles) said he will propose legislation today to enact a program called "USHealth," which he said would provide "catastrophic and basic health protection for all Americans."

He said the plan responds to President Reagan's call in his State of the Union address Feb. 4 for protection of all Americans against the cost of catastrophic illness.

Roybal's plan would be even broader, covering everything from birth in the delivery room to braces for teen-agers. It would cover all residents of the United States, including non-citizens.

The bill adopts and expands cost-containment measures imposed by the Reagan Administration under Medicare. Roybal said savings would cover much of the cost of the program, but offered no figures on either cost or savings.

A fact sheet said other funding would come from a tax on employers, a 16-cent increase in the cigarette excise tax and an extension of the Medicare payroll tax.

Any further money needed would come from an open-ended surcharge on income taxes.

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