A Healthy Blog

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

US health policy

Talk Back to Sect. Mike Leavitt on SCHIP

US Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt uses his blog to defend President Bush's veto of the SCHIP authorization -- click here. He's open for comments. Check it out and let him know what you think... Read more »

9/30/07 Double Milestone II: SCHIP/CHIP and Bush’s Brain

Today is the final day of the first 10 years of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP – though House Democrats now insist it be called CHIP). Congress and the President have yet to agree on a new authorization – it’s being extended through mid-November by a continuing resolution, so hold the panic. So a few anniversary reflections. SCHIP was created in 1997 as part of a much larger bill, the Balanced Budget Act. In early ’97, “smart” people said there was no way a Republican Congress would create a new social program in a year of deficit reduction. They underestimated the... Read more »

Let Us Now Praise the New England Congressional Delegation

We have not written much recently on the SCHIP battle between a bipartisan Congressional majority on one side and President Bush and his dwindling band of true believers on the other. Not much because there's no controversy over SCHIP renewal in this part of the nation at all. Every single member of the US House from New England voted in favor of the reauthorization bill. Every Senator -- save Judd Gregg from New Hampshire -- will vote for it tomorrow. So, what to do? How about sending a thank you note to your member of Congress to thank him or her for the House action on SCHIP? Could... Read more »

Putting the Presidential Candidates' Health Planks in Perspective

Today's New York Times editorial does the best job we've seen assessing all the health positions of the Democratic and Republican candidates and putting them in a useful perspective. There's reason to be hopeful, and there's reason for concern. Money graphs: All of the plans, both Republican and Democratic, fail to provide a plausible solution to the problem that has driven health care reform to the fore as a political issue: the inexorably rising costs that drive up insurance rates and force employers to cut back on coverage or charge higher premiums. All of the plans acknowledge the need... Read more »

Hillary's Health Plan

So it's out, Hillary Clinton's plan to expand access to health insurance to cover nearly everyone. Key parts: 1. Require all residents to obtain health insurance; 2. Require large employers to contribute toward the cost of health insurance for employees and provide tax subsidies to small businesses to help cover the cost of coverage for workers; 3. Provide tax breaks to ensure that health insurance premium payments do not exceed a certain percentage of household income; 4. Mandate that health insurers cannot deny coverage to applicants because of pre-existing medical conditions; and 5. Allow... Read more »

Mrs. Clinton's Emerging Health Plan -- Looks like Edwards' and MA's

Today's Wall Street Journal (click here) gives the first look we've seen at Hilary Clinton's health coverage plan to be fully unveiled on Monday. Individual mandate, lower income subsidies, assessments on non-offering companies -- looks a lot like candidate John Edwards' effort earlier this year and resembles the Massachusetts health reform plan in many key respects. Mrs. Clinton's plan has been the most eagerly awaited because: a. she's the front runner; and b. folks want to know how her thinking has evolved since the 1993-94 health reform debacle. Here's an excerpt: Read more »

GAO Report Points to Health System Reform Consensus and Disagreements

Here's a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) worth checking out -- click here: Health Care 20 Years From Now -- Taking Steps Today to Meet Tomorrow's Challenges. It's the account of a special consultative session organized by GAO Comptroller David Walker, which includes about 30 health policy luminaries from across the nation, including: Carolyn Clancy (AHRQ), Robert Reischauer (Urban Institute), Henry Aaron (Brookings), Richard Frank (Harvard Medical School), Anne Gauthier (Commonwealth Fund), Robert Greenstein (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), John Iglehart (... Read more »

Confused about SCHIP -- NEJM Clarifies

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? Read more »

ACS Puts It on the Line for Health Access

In our "numbers" frenzy last week, we neglected to mention the positive news that the American Cancer Society: "...plans to devote its entire $15 million advertising budget this year not to smoking cessation or colorectal screening but to the consequences of inadequate health coverage. The campaign was born of the group’s frustration that cancer rates are not dropping as rapidly as hoped, and of recent research linking a lack of insurance to delays in detecting malignancies. " Yahoo! This is unqualified good news. ACS is a hugely important national voice, and they appear determined to make... Read more »

Dental Health, Medicaid, and SCHIP -- New KFF Brief

The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has released a fact sheet called: “Dental coverage and care for low-income children: The Role of Medicaid and SCHIP.” This paper provides a national view of children’s dental health and the solutions we need to work together to accomplish to ensure that all children have access to health care. Below is an excerpt from this paper. Read more »


Subscribe to US health policy