A Healthy Blog

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

National Health Reform – What About the Kids?

National Health Reform – What About the Kids?

September 25, 2009

With all the noise surrounding the national health reform debate over the last several months, one group that was at risk of being lost in the shuffle was children. At one point, advocates were concerned that kids would be forgotten and that they would be lumped in with adults when it came time to design coverage plans. Thanks in large part to our friends at Community Catalyst and the New England Alliance For Children’s Health, it looks like this won’t happen.

Children are not little adults – they have unique health care needs that need to be accounted for. One thing that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) did particularly well was to recognize these needs and to mandate standards of care that had to be met.

Early drafts of the health reform proposals seemed to indicate that CHIP was going to be eliminated and that kids were going to end up covered through the Exchange system by health plans designed for adults.

Fortunately, Senator Baucus heard the calls of advocates and has included a provision in the Finance Committee’s proposal that would require coverage of child-specific services that would otherwise not be part of Exchange plans. There are other amendments that are expected to be considered during the committee debate. For more on all the child-focused provisions and amendments in the legislation, click here.

Massachusetts has long recognized the unique needs of kids, though it's Children's Medical Security Plan and kids-focused MassHealth programs.

We have a long way to go before any of this becomes reality, but it’s good to know that at least from the kid perspective, things are moving in the right direction.
-Matt Noyes