Monday, March 31, 2008

DC, Richmond propose or try innovative programs to increase reach of health care


Recently, there have appeared a couple more stories about local initiatives to do something about improving access to health care.

On Saturday, March 29, The Washington Post reported, in a story by David Nakamura in the Metro section, p E1, on a plan by the District of Columbia to cover the uninsured. The story is “D.C. Plan Could Aid Uninsured: New Taxes Would Help Pay for Care,” link here. The plan, to be offered this week to City Council, would cover all the uninsured with a subsidy paid for by increased “sin” taxes on cigarettes. Residents would have to pay a premium of $20 to $100 a month, based on income. The remainder would be subsidized by the City and by CareFirst Blue Cross Clue Shield. This solution has some of the features that characterize the “mandatory coverage” programs appearing in some states and possibly to be proposed at a national level by Hillary Clinton.

On Sunday, March 30, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has an editorial “Health Care Solutions: Access Now” p E2, link here. The program was launched by the Richmond Academy of Medicine and Richmond Enhancing Access to Community Healthcare. The program relies on voluntary cooperation and donated services from area providers. This concept is more in line with “conservative” or “Republican” efforts.

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