Saturday, November 21, 2009

Health care deform

Another reason, in case you needed one, to think that the health care bills in Congress may very well not be worth passing. The article is from the Washington Independent a week ago, I but didn't see it until now and didn't know this about the legislation.
The Democrats’ proposal to terminate the Children’s Health Insurance Program would hike health care costs for some of the country’s low-income families, likely increasing the number of uninsured kids in the name of expanding coverage, several health policy experts and state health officials warned Friday.
That's right: The health "reform" bill passed by the House would put an end to CHIP, (formerly S-CHIP). The program that was designed to provide health care to children whose parents couldn't afford it, the program first proposed by Bill Clinton in January 1997 but which for years suffered from inadequate funding, the one we worked so hard to expand in the face of reactionary obstructionism and Shrub vetos, the one we celebrated when that expansion was signed into law just last February after years of effort - that program
would cease to exist at the end of 2013, instead shuffling those kids into Medicaid or private insurance plans on a proposed insurance marketplace, called the exchange.
Now, in fairness, the idea is that the changes will enable entire families to join the same insurance plan, thus expanding coverage from the children to the whole family. And, some note, there are some advantages, such as that neither Medicaid nor the exchanges would require Congressional reauthorization, as CHIP does. Still, the fact is that
critics, including some children’s welfare advocates and policy experts, maintain that the proposal would shift an additional cost burden on millions of low-income families, thereby discouraging them from buying coverage at all.
Stan Dorn, senior health policy researcher at the Urban Institute, told a children’s health care forum on Capitol Hill a week ago Friday that due to CHIP's affordability,
“it’s clear” that kids “are much better off” under CHIP than they would be under private exchange plans.

“It’s not even a close question,” Dorn said....
Indeed. According to a study mentioned in the article, parents who now pay no more than 2% of their children's health care costs under CHIP could see that soar to as much as 35% under the House plan.

The Senate version of the bill originally called for CHIP to be eliminated but now reauthorizes it through 2019.

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