Are American Children Being Lured Into Socialized Medicine?
by Naomi Lopez
June 24, 1998
There is no question that nearly all Americans think children
should have access to quality health care. But according
to a recent survey, only about one in five believe the federal
government is the payer most responsible for children's
health care. Most people believe the responsibility for
that care rests with the children's parents.
Yet many Americans are unaware that the Clinton Administration's
"Kids First" back-up plan is being implemented across the
country. Fewer than one-third of Americans report hearing
about a new federal program that takes a giant step toward
nationalizing health care for children and overriding this
Today a bevy of health care providers, private foundations,
government officials, and political activists are successfully
setting up universal health care for children. Their success
is found in nationwide school-based health centers, Medicaid
expansions, and the new $48 billion federal health care
program for children. The new federal program attempts to
bring middle-income children into Medicaid, the government
health care program that already covers one-quarter of American
While current efforts to expand government health care
programs for children may be well intentioned, these programs
have serious unintended consequences. Experience has shown
that expanding government health care programs encourages
families to drop their private health insurance, reduces
health care choices, infringes upon parental rights, and
threatens medical privacy.
The dangers of a nationalized health care system for children
-- which could serve as the precursor to a socialized health
care system for all Americans -- should be publicly debated
before all children are placed under a single government
health care roof.
Naomi Lopez is the director of health and welfare studies
at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, CA.
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