Advocacy Groups Call for Universal Health Care, Starting With Coverage for All Children, Pregnant Women
Five civil rights and advocacy groups last week held a briefing on Capitol Hill and called on lawmakers to ensure that every child in the U.S. has health insurance coverage, CQ HealthBeat reports. The groups -- the National Council of La Raza, the Asian American Justice Center, the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People, the National Congress of American Indians and the Children's Defense Fund -- have formed a partnership for their lobbying efforts to pass legislation that covers all children by the end of 2009. Neera Tanden, counselor for health reform in HHS's secretary's office, also joined the groups on Friday.
The panelists said although the CHIP expansion provided health coverage to more children, an estimated five to six million children remain uninsured. They noted that the minority population in particular has poorer access to health care services. The groups said new health care legislation should:
- Create affordable health insurance coverage for all children and pregnant women;
- Treat all children equally, regardless of their economic situation or geographic location;
- Establish a national eligibility of 300% of the federal poverty level, with an affordable buy-in option based on a sliding scale for those with incomes above that level;
- Ensure that pregnant women and children have access to comprehensive benefits with an emphasis on prevention, early detection, post-partum care, and culturally and linguistically appropriate services;
- Create a simple, equitable and comprehensible health care system so that people can better understand how to achieve health coverage; and
- Eliminate unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy and employ automatic enrollment into health programs.
According to CQ HealthBeat, although the partnership is calling for universal coverage for children and pregnant women, some panelists said that ideal legislation should cover all U.S. residents (Attias, CQ HealthBeat, 4/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.