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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Confused about SCHIP -- NEJM Clarifies

Confused about SCHIP -- NEJM Clarifies

September 6, 2007

This week's New England Journal of Medicine includes a well written overview of the battle over renewal of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), written by John Iglehart, NEJM's national correspondent and former editor of Health Affairs (click here). Good summary. Worth a read -- subscription NOT required. Thanks NEJM. How come JAMA's so stingy with their articles?

The struggle over the reauthorization of SCHIP reflects the recurring discussion over the role that government should play in providing health coverage to the population. Every time, combatants come to the question with fervor, believing their arguments reflect the values of the American people. In a recent survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC, respondents who expressed pessimism about the future were asked to identify the source of their viewpoint; next to the Iraq war, failures of the health care system drew the most nods.5 Whether politicians are able to capture this concern in the form of an expanded SCHIP or reaffirm Bush's belief in the private market as the preferable solution is a question that will be addressed over the course of the coming presidential election campaign and beyond. As long as no political party holds a commanding margin in Congress, this debate will continue without a clear resolution in sight.