Editorial on Children’s Health Insurance Faulted
Although "[w]e agree with" a recent Wall Street Journal editorial's statement that recently passed SCHIP legislation will spur "important debates" in upcoming months, "we take issue with virtually every other part" of the editorial, AARP CEO William Novelli and American Medical Association board Chair Edward Langston write in a Journal letter to the editor (Novelli/Langston, Wall Street Journal, 8/20).
According to the editorial, the "good news" in the debate over SCHIP "is that the House legislation is so egregious that it barely passed 225-204" and that President Bush "has promised to veto a major expansion of the SCHIP program."
The editorial concluded, "Democrats think they have a political winner in the guise of helping 'children,' but the House bill shows that their higher priority is expanding government" (California Healthline, 8/9).
Novelli and Langston write that SCHIP is not government-run health care because a "full 70% of kids on SCHIP get their coverage from private insurers." They continue that the bill will help children and seniors receive "affordable, quality health care" and that it "prevents a looming 10% cut in physician fees," as well as addressing other "critical Medicare issues," such as cutting excessive payments to Medicare Advantage plans.
"This is not a debate about government versus private insurance" because both are necessary to a working system, they write. Instead, it is about whether elected officials can "begin to take the necessary steps to strengthen health care for all," Novelli and Langston conclude (Novelli/Langston, Wall Street Journal, 8/20).