January 9, 2007
The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) supports enactment of the MediKids Health Insurance Act of 2007. For over thirty years, NHeLP has advocated for the provision and improvement of health care for America's working and unemployed poor, women and children, minorities, immigrants, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Passage of MediKids would provide health insurance to all children, up to age 23. Providing children health care ? especially preventive care ? reduces future health care problems, and costs, when those children become adults. Children without health insurance must rely on safety-net health providers for services, at a much higher per capita cost per encounter than those with insurance. In addition, such children are more often forced to suffer the pain and consequences of otherwise easily treatable illnesses. MediKids would ensure that children have critically needed access to ongoing care, thereby ameliorating human suffering, relieving the strain on safety-net providers and keeping the costs of health care lower by treating conditions before complications arise.
Under MediKids, parents retain the ability to decide which type of plan will best serve the needs of their children ? private plans or government sponsored programs such as Medicaid or SCHIP. The latter would continue to serve as safety-net programs. Under MediKids, children under 150% FPL would pay no premiums. Children between 150% and 300% FPL would be subject to graduated premiums, which we which we agree should be capped at 5%, as is currently the case in SCHIP. We are concerned that any higher premiums would discourage enrollment. We also support basing the benefits package on Medicare, and Medicaid?s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT), to ensure that children have access to the age-appropriate care they need.
We urge you to support the MediKids Health Insurance Act of 2007. Please feel free to contact Mara Youdelman at 202-289-7661 if you would like to discuss this or any other issue about which we may be of assistance.
Laurence M. Lavin