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CU Supports Children’s Health Insurance Act

Consumers Union
Nonprofit Publisher of
Consumer ReportsJuly 25, 2007
The Honorable John Dingell
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports,
strongly endorses HR 3162, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007.
This is an essential health reform bill that will make enormous long-term improvements in the health of the American people in the years to come. The measure will:
Provide effective healthcare coverage for most of the 6 million lower income children who are generally eligible for, but not currently enrolled in Medicaid and SCHIP;
Improve medical, mental health, and drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries through better preventive care services and helps those seniors and people with disabilities who have trouble paying their premiums, deductibles, and co-payments;
Ensure Medicare beneficiary access to physicians by eliminating large cuts in payments to doctors, and starts the reform of the underlying payment system;
Make a huge improvement in the long-term solvency and viability of
Medicare by eliminating overpayments to certain insurers (many of whom are providing little or no extra services) and by reducing abusive over-utilization of hospital, kidney disease drugs, and imaging services for profit;
Lay the groundwork for saving literally trillions of dollars in the coming
decades by establishing and adequately funding a robust comparative effectiveness research system;
Protect consumers against marketing frauds and abuses in the managed
care plans;
Stop the random assignment of low-income Medicare beneficiaries to
Medicare Part D plans that grossly fail to cover commonly used drugs or which are not among the lower cost, higher quality plans available, an issue Consumers Union has been working on for a year; and
Save countless lives and healthcare dollars in the future by further discouraging the use of tobacco products.
Mr. Chairman, this is a dramatic package of Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP reforms.
It is useful for the public and members of Congress to remember that money spent opposing this legislation is money taken away from actual medical care that the insurers could and should be providing. We urge you to focus on the needs of uninsured children, low-income Americans, seniors and those with disabilities in passing this vital legislation, and look forward to working with you on its passage in the coming weeks.
Again, our heartfelt congratulations.
William Vaughan
Senior Policy Analyst (Health)