Nonprofit Publisher of
July 18, 2007
The Honorable Max Baucus; Chair, and The Honorable Charles Grassley; Ranking Member
Committee on Finance
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman and Senator Grassley:
Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports,
wishes you success in the mark-up of legislation continuing and expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Reducing the number of uninsured children and thereby improving the long-term health of the nation is the most important health legislative goal of this session of Congress. The bill you have developed, to provide $35 billion more over the next five years to help reduce the number of uninsured by over 3 million, is an excellent step forward. By paying for the insurance expansion through tobacco taxes, you will also help discourage the use of death and disease-promoting products, another great investment toward a healthier American future.
Our readers consistently tell us that high healthcare costs are the key consumer issue facing Americans. With decent family health insurance policies costing about $12,000 a year, millions of families cannot afford coverage. Yet we know that those without insurance have poorer health, and 18,000 Americans die each year, prematurely and unnecessarily, because of lack of insurance. Children without health insurance do worse in school, and in life, than those with coverage. Treating the uninsured in emergency rooms and after illnesses have progressed to more serious stages increases the cost of health insurance policies about 8 percent on average, impacting those with insurance and providing poor care to the uninsured.
For all these reasons, we commend you for your efforts to advance this issue and look forward to working with you on enactment of landmark legislation.
Senior Policy Analyst