Columnist, Senator Call for Expanding Health Insurance
Two newspapers on Wednesday published opinion pieces on issues related to health care reform. Summaries appear below.
The number of uninsured U.S. children "is a stain on the nation," Ronald Brownstein writes in his Los Angeles Times column.
According to Brownstein, "Until recently, children had been the exception in an otherwise bleak health care story of rising costs and declining access," but "with health care costs pressing their budgets, states squeezed services" and less children are now enrolled in state health care programs. In addition, "because employer-based coverage for kids continued to erode, the number of uninsured kids rose," Brownstein continues.
The success of county initiatives in California to provide children with coverage shows what an investment in SCHIP "could buy for the rest of the nation," he writes. Brownstein concludes, "Millions of other strapped American parents" would benefit "if Washington makes the right decisions in the months ahead" by approving Democrats' proposal to increase SCHIP funding to $50 billion over the next five years (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 5/2).
The U.S. must take the "next crucial step" in health care reform by "building a common-sense partnership between employers, families and the government to share the costs of the sickest among us," Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) writes in a Boston Globe opinion piece.
Kerry this week plans to introduce legislation that would "make government a partner in helping businesses with the heavy financial burden" of chronically ill employees. The legislation calls for reinsurance, through which employers would offer their workers preventive care and quality health coverage, and the government would reimburse costs associated with the care of workers who use more than $50,000 annually in health care costs.
Kerry writes that with reinsurance, "health insurance premiums for all of us will go down -- by approximately 10%." He concludes that reinsurance " will lay the groundwork for achieving our ultimate goal: health care coverage for every single American" (Kerry, Boston Globe, 5/2).