Health Policy Changes in Store With New Congress


“It's going to be very interesting to see how these folks approach health care,” said Mr. Cannon, noting that Rep. Dingell has introduced legislation for a single-payer health care system every year since 1955. “We will see if they just try to go for moderate Democratic ideas … or if they really follow their hearts and try to kill health savings accounts, or launch some sort of Clinton-like initiative that aims to provide coverage for everyone. They're not moderates, and they're not shrinking violets. They don't seem like the kind who are going to take orders; they seem to want to run their own show.”

The upcoming reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a federal/state program to provide health insurance to children in families with income too high for Medicaid but too low to be able to afford private insurance coverage, is one example of legislation the Democrats could put their stamp on, according to Mr. Pollack.

“Due to its broad, bipartisan support, SCHIP no doubt will be reauthorized,” he said. “However, since approximately 9 million children continue to be uninsured, the real question before the Congress is whether the reauthorization process will expand health coverage and provide adequate SCHIP funding for those children who don't have coverage and whose families can't afford it. A simple reauthorization will be a major disappointment.”

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