Monday, May 21, 2007

Peach Freeze

See what Hannah thinks about politicians and bureaucrats who want to take away her health insurance? Even she knows Georgia's PeachCare program is in trouble. The freeze on new enrollments that began on March 1, 2007 is still in effect. What can change that? Literally, an Act of Congress, reauthorizing SCHIP.

Last session, the General Assembly passed a appropriations act that would allow the Department of Community Health to borrow money from Medicaid to bridge the 70 million dollar gap PeachCare is facing. The problem is that attorneys who are looking at that legislation have concerns about whether the language of the act is sufficient/appropriate, so DCH has not moved forward, hence the freeze. Why am I not shocked that such a critical act would contain legal flaws that may make it worth less than the paper it was printed on?

At the same time, Republicans in Congress, cheered on by Speaker Richardson, are looking to a Congressional Budget Office Report for ammunition in their fight to reduce the number of children who are eligible for PeachCare. I take back what I said about Republicans being slaves to polling data- 80% of Georgians favor maintaining or expanding PeachCare-but still the Republican leadership remains unmoved. Can you imagine fighting to remove children from health insurance?

I agree with Jon Flack. It is time for Democrats in Congress to step up to the plate and reauthorize this critical program. On a not-at-all-unrelated topic, there is breaking news that Rep. Jim Marshall has drawn opposition in the 8th Congressional District: Maj. Gen. Richard Goddard . Jim has served the district well, and he can certainly handle Goddard; however, this does make the race against Saxby look more appealing-at least to me. I'm not sure Jim will see it that way. Congressman Marshall's advocacy on the issue of children's healthcare will have me in his corner no matter which race he enters.