October 5, 2004  


Senate Takes Up Granger-Wynn Bill To Help Uninsured Crisis


Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) Tuesday hailed Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for joining an effort launched by Granger and Congressman Albert Wynn (D – MD) to provide health care coverage for the more than 45 million uninsured Americans.
Murkowski announced Tuesday that she is introducing the Securing Access, Value and Equality (SAVE) in Health Care Act in the Senate.
Granger introduced SAVE in the House in March 2003, and the bill is co-sponsored by more than 40 House members. The bill offers an immediate federal tax credit to individuals and families so they can choose an affordable health plan that fits their needs.
Under SAVE, persons who are uninsured and those who depend on employer health insurance are both treated equally in the eyes of the tax code; this proposal is similar to health care plans touted by President Bush.
The federal tax credit would provide $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for married couples and $500 per dependent up to $3,000 per family to purchase health insurance of their choice. If premiums for health care insurance exceed these amounts, 50 percent of the additional premiums would be eligible to be paid with the tax credits.
“I have heard the message that Americans want and need help with obtaining affordable, quality health care insurance,” Granger said.
 “I applaud Senator Murkowski for joining us in a common sense solution to the health care cost crisis. SAVE makes good medical sense, and it makes good financial sense. People who seek medical treatment early are less likely to become seriously ill. Medical treatments are cheaper when detected early rather than when treated in emergency rooms as a serious health problem.”
Granger noted that 50 large U.S. companies early this year recognized that their pool of part-time, temporary, contract, retirees, and other employees were having severe problems obtaining health care insurance and formed a consortium to offer these employee groups access to health care insurance. This is one more indicator of how serious this problem has become.
SAVE offers significant advantages over the current system:
  • Secures the nation’s health care system and closes the gaps in coverage
  • Provides access to health coverage to those who shut out now
  • Provides value by giving more choices to people
  • Brings equality to the health care system by allowing all individuals to have tax incentives regardless of their employment status
SAVE is currently pending before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Granger notes that private organizations, as well as the health care community, join her and her SAVE co-sponsors in calling for SAVE’s quick passage. SAVE will most benefit the most people by taking enormous steps towards solving the problems of the uninsured.