WASHINGTON – HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says covering the uninsured will take several years, even if Congress passes a bill and President Barack Obama signs it into law this fall.
Sebelius said in a question-and-answer session with The Associated Press Tuesday that “it won’t start the day after the bill passes.”
Nearly 50 million Americans are uninsured, and early cost estimates of congressional coverage plans have been disappointing. The $1 trillion over 10 years that the Obama administration wants to spend may not be enough.
Sebelius said the first step would be to cover people who are eligible for existing government programs. She said after that, it could take until 2011 or 2012 to set up insurance purchasing pools and start covering the rest.