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News of the Day ... In Perspective

12/6/2007

SCHIP and the surrogate war over medicine

The battle over reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance program (SCHIP) is a feature of the attempt to have the debate about the future of American medicine in the back corridors of Congress, writes Grace-Marie Turner (Health Policy Matters 11/2/07). “The Fate of SCHIP—Surrogate Marker for Health Care Ideology” encapsulates the description by New England Journal of Medicine correspondent John K. Iglehart
(N Engl J Med 2007;357:2104-2107)

Long-time AAPS member Rep. Tom Price, M.D., (R-GA) writes: “Democrats have proposed to take control of healthcare away from families and doctors” by expansions of SCHIP to income groups in which two-thirds already have private coverage. The Democratic proposal would permit coverage of adults before children and would not exclude illegal aliens.

The Democrats’ SCHIP proposal revives the Clinton-era push toward school-based clinics. A Portland, ME, clinic that dispenses oral contraceptives to 11-year-old girls is one example of where this could lead. writes Michael J. O’Dea of Christus Medical Foundation.

The AMA became a strong advocate of the Democrats’ proposal and invested large sums of money in advertising for it, despite objections from many of its members. This was thought to be partly a consequence of its liaison with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

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