San Francisco Chronicle Lauds Wyden-Smith Plan to Expand Coverage
By unanimously approving an amendment to the Senate's 2002 federal budget proposal that would set aside $28 billion during the next three years to extend health coverage to adults who are "too young for Medicare and not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid," the Senate has performed "an act of admirable bipartisan cooperation," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states. The amendment, introduced by Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden (D) and Gordon Smith (R), would use tax breaks or extra Medicaid funds to provide coverage for an estimated 15 million of the nation's 43 million uninsured citizens through CHIP. The Chronicle says that parents, as well as their children, will gain from the expansion, noting, "There is no question that a parent who visits a doctor regularly and understands the importance of preventive medicine is more likely to have healthy children." The editorial concludes, "We applaud the Senate's bipartisan resolve and urge the House and President Bush to expand this national plan to help low-income families obtain health care. By excluding parents, [California's CHIP] program makes a mockery of the promise of its name, 'Healthy Families'" (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/10).