Tuesday, May 25, 2010

4 million low-income children will not get health care

A federal law that President Obama signed early last year to expand health insurance to 4 million more low-income children has gotten off to a slow start because of budget problems in the states.

The law makes more than $10 billion in federal aid available each year through 2013 but requires state funds as well. Faced with budget shortfalls, less than half the states have used it to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program, studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Academy for State Health Policy and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families show.

About 15 states scaled back coverage by increasing waiting periods, raising premiums or making signup more complicated, Kaiser's study found.

As a result, many states will leave federal money unspent, and the increase of 4 million children may not be reached, state officials and children's health advocates say.

Obama's "health insurance reform" avoided "single payer", "medicare-for-all", "universal coverage", "catastrophic coverage" and a dedicated tax stream to fund the program (ala Social Security, Medicare and unemployment compensation).

Instead, we were given a Rube Goldberg-esque patch work of mandates, penalties, subsidies and matching funds, and lots and lots of promises.

The promises continue to fall.

Notwithstanding the speeches and the rhetoric and the applause lines, four million low-income children will not be getting health insurance.

And, if you like your employer's "Cadillac" insurance plan, you still won't be able to keep it.

No comments: