How Is The Health Care Safety Net Faring?
News outlets examine the safety net from varying vantage points to see how it is holding up in advance of the health law's coverage expansions and during difficult economic times.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Health Law Safety Net Gets Little Attention
The past year has given Kathy Berger a rare vantage point on health care reform. A Brookfield resident well-entrenched in the middle class, Berger is among the millions who lost their jobs during the downturn. She also lost her husband of 35 years to cancer this year. Even with insurance, she and her husband spent more than $20,000 on medical expenses last year, leaving her wondering what would have happened had they been without health insurance at all. The primary goal of the 1-year-old health care law - a goal that has gotten scant mention by supporters and opponents alike - is to offer a financial safety net to tens of millions of Americans by providing or subsidizing their health insurance coverage (Boulton, 3/27).
Kaiser Health News: Housing Bust Hurts County Health health Efforts
In cities and counties across the nation, the housing bust has hit health care. In Genesee County, where housing prices have plunged and foreclosures have been widespread, property tax revenues have declined by 15 percent over the past two years Galewitz, 3/27).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: N.J. Health Centers In Bind On Helping The Poor
Gov. Christie has proposed reducing community health centers' reimbursement rates for treatment of the uninsured by 10 percent at the very time they face increased demand because of the recession and budget cuts in other health programs for the needy. The number of low-income uninsured patients whom the state has reimbursed the centers for treating statewide has risen 35 percent since 2007, to 178,775. Further increases are expected in the coming year (Rao, 3/28).