Pointless Paperwork is a Pitch-Perfect Performance – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

When you talk about an issue long enough, every argument starts to sound the same, so much that even your own mother starts tuning you out.  It’s a bit like “American Idol” or “Britain’s Got Talent” where all the auditions start to blend together.  

We’ve been crooning on for years about the excessive and unnecessary amount of paperwork that some states impose on children and families enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP but it seemed as though we just couldn’t get a callback.  Enter stage left:  Robert Nelb, a 23-year old student and health outreach volunteer with “Pointless Paperwork Is A Health Care Hurdle,” an op-ed that is about as pitch-perfect as Susan Boyle’s performance on “Britain’s Got Talent.”  He really hit a high note with his call for “hassle-free health care”. 
Pointless paperwork not only puts up artificial barriers that deter families from getting and keeping eligible children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, but it’s also costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year. With so many rich data sources in today’s world of technology, we should all be asking why do we have public coverage systems that require families to maneuver a maze of paperwork filled with bureaucratic barriers to get health care for their kids? 
One of the key problems is a large percentage of uninsured kids had coverage but then lost it due to complicated paperwork at re-enrollment. Studies show as many as 40% of uninsured children who are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP were enrolled in the previous year. If we are serious about getting kids covered, we need to start with simplifying the process.
Even Simon Cowell would have been “gobsmacked” with the fresh perspective offered by Nelb.  We’re looking forward to Robert’s encore performance – a Brooking’s Institute paper on automatic enrollment.  

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