A key lawmaker in the effort to redesign the U.S. healthcare system said that legislation needs to include measures to improve mother and child wellness.
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), an occasional pinch-hitter for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) on health reform, told reporters in Washington that infants, children and mothers have special needs that are not currently being discussed in the same context as adult care.
The issues of coverage and prevention and quality with children dont necessarily match up neatly and tidily with adults, he said.
Even though Medicaid and the State Childrens Health Insurance Program insures about 21 million youths, roughly 9 million more across the country are uninsured, he said. And questions abound about where that population might fit into a health insurance exchange, where a number of different plan types would be at play.
As one member of the committee, were going to pay particular attention to that subject matter as this moves forward to make sure that children will be given the kind of special consideration they deserve, Dodd said.
Dodd said that another focus would be on maternal care, especially as it relates to preventive measures. One out of eight children are born premature, he said, costing the healthcare system $26 billion a year.
If you could really begin early and insist that be a part of the debate, you could make a big difference both financially and in the lives of people, he said.