Candidates ‘Unconditionally Ignore’ the Uninsured, Brownstein Says
Democrats and Republicans running for reelection "are doing their best to utterly and unconditionally ignore" the issue of the uninsured, "the great unmentioned of the 2002 campaign," Los Angeles Times reporter Ronald Brownstein writes in a "Washington Outlook" column today. Brownstein says that the United States, which has 41.2 million uninsured people, according to Census Bureau figures, is heading for a "health care train wreck" as the cost of health services increase, the economic slowdown helps "erode" health coverage and states reduce funding for public health plans such as Medicaid and CHIP. Brownstein calls on Congress to "preven[t] further erosion in the public safety net" by providing states more money for Medicaid and passing legislation "ensuring that CHIP funds are allocated to the states that need them most." Lawmakers running for reelection are "behaving like patients hoping a lump will go away if they just ignore it," Brownstein says, concluding that "in health care, delay almost always deepens the danger," and politicians who ignore the health care crisis "may soon learn the same thing" (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 10/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.