NPR logo The 'What If?' of SCHIP

The 'What If?' of SCHIP

So yesterday I had to dash out of the office AGAIN to run to the doctor — different kid this time. Not trying to tell you all my business — or hers — but I may have mentioned, I do have twins, they are little, and they have to go to the doctor with some frequency, some of which you can anticipate, some of which you cannot (in our case bee stings, very bad rash ... ).

Here's what occurred to me: my biggest issue was getting out of here and getting them seen by my preferred providers. But once I got appointments it was just a matter of getting them there. Once I'm there, it's taken care of; I think my job is pretty well done. I pull out my co-pay, drop off the prescriptions, and feel pretty good about being super mom (or at least competent mom ... and yeah, I know, take the antibiotic until it's finished ... yada yada yada).

What about the millions of people for whom it's not that simple? I thought, as I pulled out my $20 co-pay, and then another $20 for prescriptions, just how lucky we are. I was so worried on the way to the doctor; so relieved on my way out. And part of the relief was knowing I could take care of my child to the best of my ability.

That's what led me to SCHIP. As you know, we like to do politics on Friday ... and one of the issues in front of us for this week's Political Chat: the boring-sounding health program that has become the focus of furious partisan and ideological disagreement. The Democrats want to expand this program to provide health insurance for kids just above poverty level; (most) Republicans say that's an unwarranted expansion of government and there are better ways to accomplish the same goal. The President vetoed the Democrat-sponsored bill saying if you want to talk about health care, talk about all of it; Dems running for President say that???s exactly what they plan to do.

I'm not one to dismiss partisan or political wrangling as unimportant. Hel-lo ... politics is the vehicle by which government happens. And there are legitimate differences of opinion about how to best get health care to the biggest possible number of people. Market incentives? Single payer? A combination of risk pools?

Anyway, we look forward to that conversation on Friday. So, I want to ask, what kind of policy discussion best serves your interests? Do you want to know the nitty-gritty of details? Or why an issue is going this way or that?

Let me know ... and both kids are feeling better thanks ... and so is Mom.

Before I forget, I do want to point out the diversity of guests on today's show. We had a look back at the life of one of America's best-known Native American activists ... and a visit with one of America's least known, but most influential, African American filmmakers. Plus ... a white mother struggling to make sense of her daughter's awful encounter with the juvenile justice system — a case that inadvertently got caught up in race, but isn't necessarily about race — and our monthly visit with the magazine mavens! (We'll miss Betty Cortina, editorial director of Latina Magazine. Betty — you???re fabulous! Keep us posted on your next move.)

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