Jeffords introduces healthcare tax credit bill

June 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-VT) has introduced the Relief, Equity, Access and Coverage for Health Act, a bill that would provide refundable tax credits and other measures designed to reduce the number of uninsured and make health insurance more affordable for millions of low- and moderate-income working Americans.

Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-VT) has introduced the Relief, Equity, Access and Coverage for Health Act, a bill that would provide refundable tax credits and other measures designed to reduce the number of uninsured and make health insurance more affordable for millions of low- and moderate-income working Americans.

"The REACH Act will help the millions of Americans who fall through the gaps of the present system because they don't qualify for public programs and aren't offered subsidized insurance by their employers," said Jeffords at a press conference to unveil the legislation.

Jeffords's legislation would provide a tax credit of $2,500 for families who earn up to $55,000 and a tax credit of $1,000 for individuals who earn up to $35,000, to help defer healthcare costs. The credit is refundable, which means it is available regardless of one's tax liability.

It also allows individuals and families who do have access to employer subsidized coverage to qualify for a $400 annual credit for single coverage and a $1,000 annual credit for family coverage.

Insurance industry responds

The health insurance industry praised the bill for its bipartisanship. "Today, Senator James M. Jeffords introduced a bill that would provide tax credits to help uninsured Americans obtain health coverage," said Health Insurance Association of America President Chip Kahn on the day of the bill's introduction. "The bill was put together by a working group consisting of Senators John Breaux (D-LA), Bill Frist (R-TN), Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) and Tom Carper (D-DE), giving it the kind of bipartisan effort that is needed to deal with America's most pressing health problem – the fact that nearly 43 million Americans lack health insurance. The administration and congressional members of both parties are to be commended for recognizing the need to help the uninsured, and we look forward to working with them in this important endeavor." PR