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A "Hidden Treasure" in New Health Care Law

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May 20, 2008

Des Moines, IA – There's a hidden treasure for Iowa's kids in the new Health Care Reform Bill, just signed by Governor Chet Culver. It expands coverage for children; over the next three years, it will provide health insurance for every child in the state.

Dr. Jody Murph, president of the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says one of the provisions of the law that received little attention is that it keeps children on Medicaid enrolled continuously, not just month to month as before. She says that's a little change that makes a big difference.

"With a small change in parental income, they might lose their eligibility and be off Medicaid one month, then they would qualify again the next month: the result was that there was a tremendous interruption in medical care for these children."

Murph says the change will make a big difference in providing quality treatment for children, and in the bottom line for taxpayers.

"There should actually be a decreased cost, because a tremendous amount of record-keeping must go into insuring each child every month."

She says there are diseases that begin in childhood that can be serious, even fatal, down the road, and with continuous eligibility, doctors should be able to catch and treat such things as obesity and diabetes early on, resulting in healthier Iowans as adults, and thus additional savings.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - IA