Finally, health insurance program for American children
US President Barack Obama signed the extension of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), now the so-called Children’s Health Insurance Bill after having been approved by the US House of Representatives, according to the New York Times. This is a major victory for those who have been campaigning for the bill for several years which former President Bush strongly opposed. Similar bills have been vetoed by the former administration. With the extension of the bill also comes some expansion, namely:
- The bill covers not only citizens but legal immigrants who are under 21 and who are pregnant. Immigrants were previously not qualified for Medicaid.
- Dental care for children.
- Mental and physical illnesses equally – the so-called “mental health parity.”
Proponents of the bill are happy and see this as a first step towards major reforms in the US health care system. Opponents think such a bill too closely resembles “socialized medicine” or “government-run health care for every one” including those who can afford private health insurance coverage. In addition, this will cost taxpayers a lot of money.
As a European resident, I am not really involved in American politics but the health care problem is an issue that I’ve been following closely. Most European countries have universal health care systems and we Europeans tend to take medical care for granted. Regardless of how the health care reforms turn out, I’m just glad that children and pregnant women now have access to health care in a time of recession.