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Children, Stem Cell Research, Coverage Top Health Care Agenda

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, November 10, 2008 12:35 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Children's Health, SCHIP, Insurance Companies

Obama Biden making health care a priority.


IMAGE SOURCE:   Obama Biden on health care Web site


Health care ranks at the top of the agenda for a new White House – but what will it look like?

Rahm Emanuel, the new chief of staff, is certain to have a role in forming the new agenda.

Talking to the Wall Street Journal he said that children’s health care, SCHIP, is at the top of the list.  “It has bipartisan agreement in the House and Senate. It’s something President-elect Obama expects to see.”

Ending the current restrictions on federally funded stem-cell research is also on the top of an agenda covering medical issues. Emanuel says the approach will be "pragmatic and progressive”.

On Fox’s Sunday’s news programs, John Podesta, now with the Obama transition team, promised that a current executive order banning federal funding of research involving new lines embryonic stem-cells could happen quickly.

“We’re looking at — again, in virtually every agency to see where we can move forward, whether that’s on energy transformation, on improving health care, on stem cell research.

There’s a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we’ll see the president do that.”

President Bush had put a band-aid on the controversial national child health insurance program, extending the present program until March 2009.

President Bush quietly signed the SCHIP legislation without adding extra funding sought by Democrats and some Republicans that would have expanded the popular program to cover as many as 10 million children.  

A study last month in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that about nine million U.S. kids are going without health insurance coverage and double that number has coverage gaps during some time over the course of a year, despite having one parent with coverage.

Senator Ted Kennedy is weighing in on the Obama transition. 

In an editorial in the Washington Post,  titled “Health Care Can’t Wait,” Kennedy  writes that the current system “costs Americans too much, costs employers too much, denies too much needed care and leaves out too many Americans.”

As progress, he points to the recent congressional approval of historic legislation to end discrimination in health care against Americans with mental illness, ensuring they receive the same coverage as a physical illness. 

Despite the current economic downturn, Kennedy writes, “The system is broken. And it’s no longer just patients demanding change. Business, doctors and even many insurance companies are demanding it as well.” 

The rising cost of health care is straining families and with costs expected to double in ten years, “we can no longer afford not to act,” he says.

Kennedy points to the free health care given to every member of Congress as a counterpoint to the critics who charge “socialized medicine”.

In Massachusetts, reform has involved making coverage more affordable for lower income families and giving individuals access to high-quality affordable health insurance.

An emphasis on prevention and wellness as the best way to keep down the cost of health care, is part of the emphasis of the Obama White House.  The best way to fight disease is to prevent it from ever striking.  #

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