Two bills introduced to the 94th Congress propose a national system of health insurance for mothers and children. These bills provide a new focus for congressional, public, and professional debate about national health insurance, the specific impact of insurance on obstetric and pediatric care, and the merits of using health insurance for mothers and children as a next step on the pathway to universal national health insurance. In this commentary, I will attempt to provide a brief guide to these issues and to the current legislative proposals.
Criteria for Judging a National Health Insurance Proposal
I believe that there are six basic questions that should be asked in trying to judge a proposal for national health insurance:
Does it protect everyone against financial hardship from medical expenses?
Does it encourage the utilization of necessary and efficacious services?
Does it discourage the utilization of unnecessary or ineffective services?
NORTH AF. National Health Insurance for Mothers and ChildrenLooking at the Javits and Scheuer Proposals. Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(1):17–20. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120140019001
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