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graham health care plan

Staff report
Salisbury attorney Bill Graham, a Republican candidate for governor, released a health-care plan Thursday that targets the state’s uninsured.
At a news conference in Raleigh, Graham said his plan, called “We CARE,” will focus on getting coverage to the 1.4 million uninsured people across the state.
He proposes creating risk pools that would allow businesses, the self-employed and other individuals to buy and sell different types of health insurance policies. The pool would open access to all North Carolinians and their families who are working full time or part time, yet are not currently offered employer-sponsored health insurance.
Participants in the pool would not lose coverage as a result of losing their jobs, being laid off, retiring, getting divorced, or other causes.
Graham said his plan is a market-driven, privately funded alternative to universal health care.
“We must bring public and private interests together to solve this crisis; this is a starting point that will lead to real solutions. Too many children and working North Carolinians are denied access to quality health care because it is no longer affordable. Too many small businesses have been forced to drop health care coverage. We can work together to build a better and more efficient health care system,” he said.
Highlights of Graham’s plan include an exchange program that allows businesses, associations, unions and other groups to combine their members in a community risk pool, its reliance mostly on private individual contributions, financing of deductibles, tax incentives and cost containment.
The plan also allows Medicaid dollars to be put toward a plan offered through the community pool program. Graham also proposed an expansion of the high-risk pool, which would still allow for consumer choice.
Graham noted that hospitals across the state had more than $1 billion in non-compensated services in 2005, with those losses passed on to taxpayers, people with private health insurance and those who pay out-of-pocket.
Another facet of the plan would provide tax incentives to employers who offer weight-loss programs, gym memberships or facilities and other wellness programs.
For more information on the plan, check Graham’s Web site at www.graham2008.com

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