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Journal Issue: Children and Divorce Volume 4 Number 1 Spring/Summer 1994

REVISITING THE ISSUES: Children and National Health Care Reform
Sara Rosenbaum

Introduction

The Summer/Fall 1993 issue of The Future of Children examined how to make the overall process of reforming the health care system work for the benefit of children. That earlier issue discussed the ways in which a health care benefits package might be tailored for children, the effects of managed care on children and pregnant women, ways to reform the private health insurance market, how to pay for children's health care, the impact of alternative health care funding arrangements on families with children, and other topics.

Just days after the publication of the journal issue on health care reform, the Clinton Administration officially unveiled its plan to overhaul the nation's health care system. Coming, as it does, on top of a whirlwind of activity in the health care arena, the administration's strong commitment to health care reform has focused congressional and public attention on the issue. In addition to the Clinton Administration's bill, the Health Security Act (H.R. 3600/S. 1757), introduced by Sen. George J. Mitchell (D-ME) and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-MO), there are several other major national health care reform bills currently pending in Congress. This article, based on a review by Sara Rosenbaum of the Center for Health Policy Research at The George Washington University, of six bills introduced during the first session of the 103rd Congress, concentrates on issues of particular importance to children. Principal features of the six bills are summarized in Table 1. This overview compares the proposals on 11 major issues and highlights the degree to which each bill would achieve three basic objectives: universality of coverage and access to health care; equity in the treatment of children regardless of income or residence; and care that is comprehensive and of good quality.