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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. health insurance giant on Wednesday presented a proposal to reduce the number of Americans without medical coverage and said it was intended as a blueprint for U.S. policymakers.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, whose 39 regional companies insure about 100 million Americans, unveiled a plan which would combine tax credits to encourage people to buy coverage with ideas to improve the quality of health care.
"We're not going to wait for the government to move," Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Serota told a news conference. "We believe it's time to act," he said.
The proposal would extend coverage to 30 to 35 million of the 47 million people who are uninsured in the country of about 300 million people, Serota said.
The growing number of uninsured Americans and runaway health costs have emerged as a potent issue in the presidential election. The Bush administration, members of Congress and private groups have offered proposals, but with few results.
President George W. Bush last year proposed a tax deduction of $15,000 for families and $7,500 for individuals who get private health insurance either on their own or from employers, but Congress did not embrace the idea.
Bush has twice vetoed legislation to expand a popular health insurance program for children despite bipartisan support in Congress.