August 2, 2007 — The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP Act), which will expand health insurance coverage to more poor children and help preserve Medicare beneficiaries' access to physicians.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) urged the U.S. Senate to pass similar legislation this week, saying that improving health insurance coverage for children will help them live healthier, happier lives and help protect access to emergency care for everyone.
"Most people who do not have health insurance delay and forgo getting medical care, and when they finally seek care, they come to the emergency department, because emergency physicians treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay," said Brian Keaton, MD, an emergency physician from Ohio and president of ACEP. "Emergency departments are a health care safety net not only for the uninsured, but for us all. But with millions of people uninsured, that safety net is breaking under the load. This legislation will help shore up the safety net by providing more resources for those children, as well as for older Americans."
The state Children's Health Insurance Program is set to expire on Sept. 30, and Medicare payments to doctors will be cut by 10 percent in 2008 if Congress does not act and by about 5 percent in each of the next 8 years, for a cumulative reduction of more than 40 percent by 2016.
For more information: www.acep.org