“Anxious over the ballooning size of the proposed economic stimulus package,” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have banded together to identify spending that they believe should be cut. But the below health provisions (all rumored to be on the chopping block) would create health care jobs, allow research facilities to hire more researchers, and lay the foundation for future economic growth.
As Dean Waldman has suggested, “Health is infrastructure. Health care is the maintenance and repair service for this key element of our productive capacity. As a nation we need to treat the health of our people just like repaving a road – as an investment in our future.”
|Rumored Cuts||Stimulative Impact|
|A provision that allows people 55 and over who are laid off to continue COBRA coverage at a subsidized rate until they’re 65 and eligible for Medicare.
A provision that allows the recently unemployed to temporarily qualify for Medicaid coverage.
|“Every dollar a state spends on Medicaid pulls new federal dollars into the state—dollars that would not otherwise flow into the state. These new dollars pass from one person to another in successive rounds of spending.” This provision would create more health care jobs and allow Americans to spend their dollars, instead of saving them for a medical emergency.||$1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research
Disability research at the Department of Education.
|More research funding creates more research jobs, but it also invests in future savings and lays down the groundwork for substantial health care reform.|
|Funding for prevention and wellness and programs like smoking cessation, HIV testing, diabetes screening||Harold Pollack points out, “as a mechanism of economic stimulus, hiring nurses and counselors to prevent unintended pregnancies or HIV infection is no less worthy than hiring burly construction workers to build a road. Public health measures are a lot cheaper. They are a hell of a lot less likely to stiff taxpayers for an environmentally dicey boondoggle.”|