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New York City Program That Offers Financial Incentives For Visiting Doctor

Armen Hareyan's picture

ABC's "World News"on Wednesday examined a New York City program that pays cash rewards tolow-income parents for taking their children to the doctor or engagingin other positive behaviors, such as reviewing their children's schoolwork. The program launched on Wednesday and is funded by $50 millionfrom private contributors, including New York City Mayor MichaelBloomberg. Under the program, about 5,000 low-income families willreceive various financial rewards as an incentive for doing "smallthings ... that can make a big difference," such as $200 for taking achild to a doctor and $50 for opening a bank account, "World News"reports.

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Bloomberg said he is unsure if the program will besuccessful in raising the income status of the families but noted thatpoverty has persisted despite previous and ongoing government efforts."Shame on us if we don't try to do something new," he said. Bloombergsaid the program is similar to other government initiatives that offertax incentives to encourage people to purchase homes or attend college.

However, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institutesaid, "It's wrong to teach a parent that the reason that he or shefollows his child's education is because it will provide an immediatepayoff of 25 or 50 bucks," adding, "He should do that because it's inhis child's interest" (Harris, "World News," ABC, 9/12).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.