Friday, November 30, 2007

Health Care Costs Hurting Working Families

Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers, released a report that shows that more than 680,000 people in Arkansas under the age of 65 will spend more than 10% of their pre-tax income on health care costs next year. It also projected that 220,000 people will spend more than 25% of their income on health care, and most of those people have health insurance.

“It’s having a dramatic impact on them, on the economy and the quality of life we want people in Arkansas to have,” said Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas). Programs like ARKids First, supported by the SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Fund) help working families have greater access to health care, particularly for children, and it’s important to keep funding them, Lincoln said.

A proposal recently passed by Congress and supported by all Democratic members from Arkansas to reauthorize and expand SCHIP from an average of $5 billion a year to approximately $12 billion yearly over the next five years was vetoed by President Bush. Our own Rep. John Boozman (R-AR3) voted against funding children's health care and supported the Bush veto.

Rep. Marion Berry ( D-AR1) said the figures in the report are disturbing. “The good news is, we pretty well know how to fix this and I think we can fix this,” he said. “It may take a new Congress and new president, and we’re going to get that.”

Rhonda Sanders, director of health policy and legislative affairs for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, said the report echoes what the agency is hearing every day from families struggling to afford health care. “Getting the SCHIP reauthorization through is a critical piece in funding health care for children,” she said. “I do think Arkansas has opportunities to increase the availability of great programs like ARKids First,” she said. “There are 70,000 children with no health care coverage."


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that the Democratic members of the Arkansas delegation voted for an SCHIP bill which removed the requirement that 95% of SCHIP-eligible children be enrolled in an SCHIP program before a state is allowed to spend money on richer children, adults, or even illegal immigrants.

So you are okay with poor children having no guarantee that they are in line ahead of richer kids, adults, or illegals?

john Lewis said...

Boozman's staff gets paid to write stupid shit on blogs, but there is no defense for his votes against working families.

Anonymous said...

No mention of his vote to amend the SCHIP bill to put the 95% rule back in. But I guess you wouldn't mention it since Democrats voted against the amendment.

Is it truly about healthcare for children of the working poor, or is it about milking an issue?