ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last night in his State of the Union Address, President Bush took a bold and innovative step toward creating tax equity, calling for an end to the employee tax exclusion for health insurance and replacing it with a standard tax deduction. Under the current system, taxpayers subsidize employer-provided health insurance, with the biggest subsidies going to the richest health insurance policies. Meanwhile, workers whose employers don't provide health insurance - - usually lower-income employees who can least afford it -- get no tax break at all. The president's plan would end that disparity. "Economists have been claiming for years that we need to change the system," said Dr. Merrill Matthews, director of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance. "Only President Bush has been willing to take that step." Dr. Matthews continued, "We live in a 21st century information economy with a dynamic and mobile workforce. But health insurance has been trapped in a 20th century industrial economy model. This step will help health insurance and the economy grow to meet their potential." In addition, the president plans to create his Affordable Choices Initiative to help states provide basic private health insurance at an affordable price, and to move to a system where Americans can "own" their health plan. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance has a number of resources available on our website to guide policymakers on how to do just that. -- "Health Insurance Mandates in the States" identifies every state mandate in the country -- all 1,843 of them -- and estimates how much cost they add to a health insurance policy. -- "State Health Insurance Index" assesses each state's health insurance environment. Which states do the best job of ensuring people have access to a wide range of affordable health insurance options? This publication identifies them and explains why. -- "State Legislators' Guide to Health Insurance Solutions" provides a short explanation of some of the most important state health insurance issues and what state legislators can do to solve those problems. Founded in 1992, CAHI is a non-profit research and advocacy association whose mission is to develop and promote free market solutions to America's health care challenges. CAHI's membership includes health insurance companies (active in the individual, small group, HSA and senior markets), small businesses, physicians, actuaries and insurance brokers.
SOURCE Council for Affordable Health Insurance