Reinstate old standard for Denali Kid Care

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007

For the last couple of years the members of the Alaska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics have been advocating a resumption of the 200 percent of poverty guideline for Denali Kid Care (Medicaid) enrollment.

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Several years ago, the guideline was rolled back to 160 percent by the Legislature. While the previous 200 percent limit was enforced, access to care for the medically indigent and many of the working poor was markedly improved.

It is therefore very gratifying to see the introduction of Senate Bill 87 by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and House Bill 140 by Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, which reinstates the 200 percent rule and extends "discounted" coverage to those qualifying at 200 to 350 percent of the poverty level.

It is truly saddening to see inadequate provision of medical care for children in this country and particularly so in a state such as Alaska, which is manifestly able to afford providing such coverage. All too often the parents of those in the captioned income groups are unable to acquire or afford medical insurance but fail to meet the stringent criteria necessary to qualify for Medicaid. Thus their children often fail to receive preventive care in general and early care when ill, thus increasing morbidity and the ultimate cost.

Letters of advocacy for this important legislation would be most useful.

Thomas L. Conley



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