House Members Discuss SCHIP, Medicare, Medicaid

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A bipartisan group of eightHouse members on Monday discussed several health care issues -- such as SCHIP,Medicare and Medicaid -- during a debate at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, TheHillreports. The debate marked the second of three events scheduled as part of the"Congress Debates" series sponsored by the Democratic Caucus, the Republican Conference, the Congressional Institute and the Democratic Leadership Council (Kucinich, The Hill, 4/28). NPRhealth policy correspondent Julie Rovner moderated the debate (Lang, CincinnatiEnquirer,4/29). Debate participants included Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), MarionBerry (D-Ark.), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), KathyCastor (D-Fla.), Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and John Shadegg(R-Ariz.) (The Hill, 4/28).

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According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the debate participants"agreed on a common goal of access for all Americans to good, affordablehealth care," but they "clashed repeatedly on how to accomplishit" and "skirted specifics on how they would pay for it." Republicans,who praised the health care proposal of presumptive GOP presidential nomineeSen. John McCain (Ariz.),argued against the expansion of federal health insurance programs and in favorof tax credits to help consumers purchase private coverage. Democrats"scoffed at that idea and claimed the Republicans had eight years todeliver such credits," the Enquirer reports. In addition,Democrats cited the need to shift more residents into health insurance pools toreduce costs. Schwartz said, "We need more of us in the same pool,"adding, "Buying coverage individually is the most expensive way to doit" (Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/29).

In a discussion on SCHIP, Shadegg defended efforts by Republicans earlier thisyear to prevent the passage of legislation supported by Democrats that would havereauthorized and expanded the program. He said, "We think it is a mistaketo divide children from families." However, Schwartz said that Republicansopposed the legislation in part because the bill would have allowed SCHIP tocover some adults. In a discussion on Medicare and Medicaid, Berry said that Republicans favored healthinsurers over consumers. Deal responded, "Marion, that kind of comment really demeansthis debate" (The Hill, 4/28).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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