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Americans embroiled in the national healthcare debate might be surprised to learn there's an alternative plan that already offers inexpensive, portable insurance to everyone – one that improves, rather than aggravates, the federal deficit.
Called the Healthy Americans Act (HAA), it does have one significant drawback: It's so unpopular with the bases of both parties that it's considered a long shot to ever become law.
Two senators – Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, and Robert Bennett, a Republican from Utah – have been championing the idea for years. In a nutshell, the bill would require all Americans to buy healthcare insurance, would establish state-administered exchanges for all Americans, and would modify the tax laws to facilitate IRS collection of premiums.
The bill's co-sponsors include six Republican senators, six Democratic senators, as well as Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Independent who caucuses with Democrats. Former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota also supported the legislation when he held office.