A Downpayment on Health Reform

eAlert ed46a0d4-eb0b-4c60-8213-1ee1570a98f6

<p>In advance of possible legislative action on health care, a prime opportunity will soon arise that will enable the nation to make a "downpayment" on reform, says one of the nation's leading experts on insurance coverage. In an essay written for The Commonwealth Fund's new <a href="/publications/perspectives-on-health-reform-briefs/2009/jan/expanding-schip--a-downpayment-on-health-reform
">Perspectives on Health Reform</a> series, Columbia University's Sherry Glied, Ph.D., calls for using the upcoming reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) as means to achieve universal coverage for U.S. children.<br><br>SCHIP, which provides insurance coverage to about 4.4 million children from low-income households--typically up to 200 percent of the poverty level--is set to expire at the end of March. Although congressional leaders have indicated they are eager to expand program eligibility to 300 percent of poverty, Glied says much more could be done. "Instead of simply expanding SCHIP, Congress could offer states the option of receiving an enhanced, countercyclical payment--one that promises them an infusion of money in bad budgetary times--if they developed and implemented plans to secure the universal coverage of children."<br><br>Such a change could serve as the foundation for more comprehensive health system reforms later on, Glied says. "This legislation offers an opportunity to act quickly, jumpstarting the critical movement toward transformation of the U.S. health care system."<br><br><a href="/publications/perspectives-on-health-reform-briefs/2009/jan/expanding-schip--a-downpayment-on-health-reform
">Read Glied's essay</a> to learn more.</p>