"There are at least 47 million citizens in the United States who are uninsured, and approximately 50 million who are underinsured. In these trying economic times, with increasing job lay-offs and the skyrocketing costs of private health insurance, I believe it is a moral and economic imperative that everyone should have affordable health insurance--regardless of where they work, their income, their age, or their health status." -- Congressman Adam Schiff
Health Care Reform
Congressman Schiff believes that comprehensive health care reform is a long overdue and necessary fix to a system that is lacking in the extent and quality of its coverage. Congressman Schiff is committed to enacting health care reform that will reduce individual and national costs, expand access for all, and ensure choice and quality of care.
Insufficient health insurance coverage has long had a devastating impact upon our nation's physical and economic health. Medical crises contribute to approximately half of all home foreclosure filings while health care costs have consistently and often dramatically outpaced the growth in Americans' income. The United States currently spend almost twice as much per person on health care as any other country, a reality that would be acceptable if the quality of our health care produced exceptional outcomes, however, according to the World Health Organization, the United States ranks 37th in terms of health system performance and we are far behind many other countries in terms of such important indices as infant mortality, life expectancy and preventable deaths.
American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
In February 2009, Rep. Schiff supported the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (H.R.1), also known as the Stimulus, to create jobs and get our economy moving again. A number of provisions in the Stimulus seek to address impending health-related deficiencies.
Health Information Technology
Part of the Stimulus was directed towards creating jobs and reducing costs by building and implementing health technology infrastructure. Funding in the stimulus was directed to promote the widespread adoption of health information technology (HIT) to support the electronic sharing of clinical data among hospitals, physicians, and patients. HIT is widely viewed as a necessary and vital component of health care reform, and Congressman Schiff is committed to supporting its implementation. The Stimulus package invested $19 billion in computerized medical records that will help to reduce costs and improve quality while ensuring patients' privacy.
Congressman Schiff believes that we need to ensure access to health care for all, particularly those who've recently lost their jobs. COBRA provides certain recently terminated employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. Part of the stimulus goes to helping those recently unemployed workers who are in need of financial assistance by providing a temporary 9-month 65% subsidy to purchase COBRA coverage.
Comparative Effectiveness Research
Rep. Schiff recognizes the need for continued research to give doctors tools to make the best treatment decisions for their patients by providing objective information through research. The Stimulus provided $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research, funds that will be used to support research that compares the effectiveness of clinical outcomes, and encourages the development and use of clinical data networks, and other forms of electronic health data that can be used to generate or obtain outcomes data.
Health Workforce Programs
Congressman Schiff strongly believes that we need to continue to invest in developing our health workforce to help train the next generation of doctors and nurses. The Stimulus provided $500 million for health workforce recruitment and development programs which include loan forgiveness and scholarships for future health care providers.
You can find more information on how Stimulus dollars are being spent at www.recovery.gov
State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
Congressman Schiff has been a longtime supporter of expanding the SCHIP programs to ensure that our nation's children have access to quality care. SCHIP was created in 1997 to provide health insurance to children in families that are low-income, but not poor enough to qualify for the larger Medicaid program. It was initially funded at $40 billion, to be spent over 10 years, and has been credited with reducing the number of children in the nation without health insurance.
This year, Rep. Schiff proudly supported, and Congress passed H.R. 2, which provides $32.8 billion extra over the next four and a half years for SCHIP, expanding health-care access to an additional 4.1 million children from last year's estimated 7 million covered children.
Need for Primary Care Physicians
America is currently faced with a critical shortage of primary care providers. Rep. Schiff recognizes that primary care remains the core of America's health care system, and without a sufficient number of doctors, nurses and others providing primary care, Americans face long wait times to see their doctors and health care providers, as well as other obstacles to quality care.
In seeking to address that critical shortage, Congressman Schiff is a cosponsor of H.R. 2350, the Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act of 2009. This legislation takes a multi-faceted approach to support our primary care workforce and enhance care coordination services by establishing scholarship and loan repayment opportunities for primary care providers who serve in areas with critical shortages of primary care services, as well as increasing Medicare reimbursements for primary care providers.
Preexisting Conditions as a Barrier to Coverage
Many Americans face obstacles to adequate health care coverage through no fault of their own. Rep. Schiff believes that all individuals, regardless of their health status or history, should be able to receive comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums. Congressman Schiff is a cosponsor of the Preexisting Condition Patient Protection Act of 2009, which would prohibit preexisting condition exclusions for individual health insurance coverage.