Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care Reform

When it comes to the recently passed legislation on health care reform, it is hard to remain neutral. Fewer issues have so polarized the nation.

Politics and preferences aside, the concern for those who work with the homeless population naturally turns to those who are often left out of the discussion: the indigent homeless. How will health care reform impact the individual who has no income, no permanent dwelling, no public assistance, or no other resources?

Writing in the July 31st edition of the Washington Post, Alexi Mostrous quoted Michael Stoop of the National Coalition for Homelessness saying that 70% of homeless people are uninsured with only 25% eligible for Medicaid.

Commenting on the passing of the Health Care Reform Bill, The National Alliance to End Homelessness posted this on March 22, 2010:
Moreover, the legislation will also provide approximately $10 billion for community health centers for Fiscal Years (FY) 2011 through 2015. Typically, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocates 8.7 percent of total community health center funding toward the Health Care for the Homeless program, which can be used to provide services to people in permanent supportive housing. The health care legislation also expands early childhood home visitation programs, which provide parent education, child development, and support services to low-income, at-risk young children and their families.
At first glance, it appears that there will be very little advantage to the indigent population in the short term. We will wait and see what develops.

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