WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn introduced health care legislation Wednesday to change how people buy health insurance and modify s entitlement programs for the poor and elderly.

Similar to a plan proposed by President Bush in January, Coburn's bill is aimed at driving millions of people to buy insurance on the open market rather than through their employers. It would give individuals and families annual tax rebates to purchase insurance and allow them to buy it from any company in the United States.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, also would give incentives to those who buy high-deductible plans, under which thousands of dollars are paid out of pocket before insurance coverage kicks in.

"Americans are tired of out of control medical costs, gatekeepers blocking access to the doctors they want to see, being denied coverage of medically necessary care and health plans that they don't understand,” Coburn said.

"This bill addresses all of these problems and does so without creating new government programs or bureaucracies.”

The bill also includes provisions to promote prevention, require more disclosure from caregivers of their costs, encourage more competition among private Medicare plans and allow states to tailor Medicaid coverage to suit their own needs.

Bush's health care proposal has not been well received on Capitol Hill. Coburn's bill is being co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.