Wall Street Editorial Against SCHIP Expansion Disputed

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State Children's Health Insurance Program

Although "[w]e agree with" a recent Wall Street Journaleditorial's statement that recently passed SCHIP legislation will spur"important debates" in upcoming months, "we take issue with virtuallyevery 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).

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Accordingto the editorial, the "good news" in the debate over SCHIP "is that theHouse legislation is so egregious that it barely passed 225-204" andthat President Bush "has promised to veto a major expansion of theSCHIP program." The editorial concluded, "Democrats think they have apolitical winner in the guise of helping 'children,' but the House billshows that their higher priority is expanding government" (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/9).

Novelli and Langston write that SCHIP is not government-run health carebecause a "full 70% of kids on SCHIP get their coverage from privateinsurers." They continue that the bill will help children and seniorsreceive "affordable, quality health care" and that it "prevents alooming 10% cut in physician fees," as well as addressing other"critical Medicare issues," such as cutting excessive payments toMedicare Advantage plans.

"This is not a debate aboutgovernment versus private insurance" because both are necessary to aworking system, they write. Instead, it is about whether electedofficials can "begin to take the necessary steps to strengthen healthcare for all," Novelli and Langston conclude (Novelli/Langston, Wall Street Journal, 8/20).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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