St. Louis, MO – Republican Gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof says his health care plan will create market incentives and get more Missourians covered by health insurance.
The congressman was in St. Louis on Wednesday to unveil the plan.
Hulshof is calling the new plan HealthMAX. He says it's a voluntary private sector option that would provide tax incentives and subsidized health savings accounts for low-income Missourians.
HealthMAX is not a bureaucracy, its simply a framework for the private sector to provide a product that you could choose from, I could choose from, says Hulshof
Hulshof says the plan would have no mandates other than the stipulation that insurance companies who participate cannot deny coverage to anyone.
In addition to creating pre-tax HSAs for middle-income participants the plan would also create a network of insurance providers offering low premium high deductible policies.
Kathleen Gillespie is an Associate Professor at the St. Louis University School of Health Management and Policy. She says plans like Hulshof's tend to favor healthy individuals with few medical needs.
"It would have the effect of expanding coverage" says Gillespie.
"but, I think one downside is that most of the plans that qualify for health savings account favor very high deductibles, in the neighborhood of $5000-$10,000 for a family coverage .
Hulshof estimates it would cost $50-70 million to offer the subsidies to low-income participants, plus several million more to oversee the program.
Democratic candidate Jay Nixon criticized Hulshof for continuing to support Medicaid cuts that eliminated health care for approximately 400,000 people.
Hulshof counters that the Medicaid system is broken and that Nixon wants to turn back the clock.