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Covering All Kids

Expanding Access to Dental Care

State Sen. Ray Cleary, a South Carolina Republican, has proposed S.286 to create a free dental screening program for schoolchildren in at least 3 of the state's poorest counties - where children are most likely to go without regular dental care. Sen. Cleary, a dentist himself, wants to combat the adverse effects that poor dental health has on a child's education, including the inability to focus while in school because of pain and missed school days. According to the Pew Center on the States, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, affecting 60% of all children and causing kids across the country to miss 51 million hours of school time each year.

House Passes SCHIP Reform, but States Still Need Help on Insuring ALL Kids

Last night, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, an expansion of SCHIP, a federal program that provides medical insurance to lower income children, across strong bipartisan lines (289-139) with forty Republicans voting in favor of the bill. SCHIP currently covers 6.7 million kids and expansion will allow an additional 4 million.

Health Care for All: Policy Options for 2009

Download a copy of the report in PDF format here.  View the HTML version of the report here.

OVERVIEW

Many health care advocates believe that as you build public programs into the middle class, more and more Americans -- voting Americans in particular -- will become invested in those programs and more welcoming of a universal system.  As a first step to universal access to coverage, states like Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have built health care programs to cover all kids, a strategy feared by the Right.  A 2007 New York Times/CBS News poll found that 84% of voters support expanding SCHIP to cover all uninsured kids.

Mass. Health Care Reform One-Year Later: Clear Successes and Challenges Emerge

One year after implementation, Massachusetts new health care law has dramatically reduced its rate of the uninsured by half, increasing coverage in both the public and private sectors for 355,000 previously uninsured residents, a new Urban Institute study published in Health Affairs shows.  The state has improved access to coverage but rising costs are a key challenge as the state moves forward.

Health-Care-for-All On the Installment Plan

Incremental steps to improve the health care system can lay the foundation for comprehensive reform that provides health care for all. Comprehensive reforms enacted in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and San Francisco were, in large part, the result of pragmatic incremental steps those states had already taken. For example, a Families USA report discusses the many reforms Massachusetts put in place over the years that led to its comprehensive 2006 reform. Not every state is as far along in moving comprehensive health care reform, but each state does have numerous options for increasing access to coverage, reducing the growth of health care costs, and improving the quality of care.

Aiding States to Stimulate the National Economy

As Congress debates a stimulus to the economy in the wake of the housing bust, many economists are urging federal leaders to make aid to state governments a core part of the package. While direct tax rebates for individuals can help, it will not do much for the economy if states are forced to cut back on critical spending on public works, health care, and education at the same time. As Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who was also chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisors in the 1990s, wrote this week in the New York Times:

Welfare "Reform": Ten Years Later

It's now ten years since the 1996 welfare law promised to end "welfare as we know it." That goal may have been accomplished, but the results have been decidedly mixed, both for poor families and for state lawmakers coping with changing federal mandates.