Cincinnati Children's Blog

Health Care reform and kids — still lots of work to do

We’ve been waiting for the dust to settle a bit over the health care reform debate, but that doesn’t appear too likely any time soon. Here are two bits of information from The Advisory Group just in today:

Law of the Land

President Obama on Tuesday is expected to sign the Senate health reform bill into law in a late-morning ceremony at the White House and then attend a celebratory event at the Department of the Interior. The guests at the event will include physicians and nurses, citizens who will most directly benefit from the bill and members of Congress who aided in its passage. The event takes place as the Senate begins debate on the so-called “corrections” bill, which the House passed Sunday to make changes to the Senate overhaul. On Thursday, Obama plans to travel to Iowa City as part of an effort to explain the bill’s benefits to the public.

Seeking a Repeal

Republican opponents of health reform are challenging the constitutionality of Democrats’ reform plans and are working to repeal the legislation. More than 36 states currently are considering ways to challenge the federal government’s powers in relation to the health reform legislation. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is planning a federal lawsuit against the legislation. In Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced legislation to repeal the newly approved legislation. Constitutional scholars, including some conservatives, question the merits of state efforts to supersede the federal law, noting legal precedents that affirm the federal government’s power over states.

As we have said all along in this debate, our number one goal is to make sure all children have access to health care. We will continue to work toward that goal.

Here is the official statement issued by Cincinnati Children’s the day after the health care reform bill passed the House of Representatives:

“The passage of federal health care reform by the U.S. House on March 21 represents a significant step forward in providing coverage for all children.

“The legislation also eliminates both pre-existing conditions and lifetime coverage limits,  which Cincinnati Children’s sees impact families’ ability to secure medically necessary treatment.

“Unfortunately, the legislation does not address inadequate Medicaid payments to pediatric providers, which fall well below the cost of providing the care.  “Safety net” providers see a high volume of Medicaid patients; 42 percent in the case of Cincinnati Children’s.

“Although the March 21 vote was historic and positive, there is more work to do to ensure that Cincinnati Children’s and other providers do not face cuts in funding at a time when increasing numbers of children rely on Medicaid.”

Among our partners in this work is the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, which said, in part, in a statement March 22:

“Because Medicaid is the largest, single payer of children’s health care services, its poor reimbursement contributes to pediatric specialist shortages and financial losses for children’s hospitals … The result is long wait times for specialist appointments, hardships on families forced to travel long distances for care, and high emergency room utilization.

“Our number one priority is to save, protect and enhance the lives of children by ensuring access to high quality health care. Until the federal government fully addresses Medicaid’s inadequate payment for children’s health care services, including pediatric specialty care, our nation will not experience significant improvement in children’s access to care.”

Let us know what you think.


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