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Published: 8/8/2007

Brown pushes insurance plan for children at UT med school

BY JOSHUA BOAK
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Sen. Sherrod Brown holds the hand of Gavin Taylor, 3, as Gavin s mother, Sheena Taylor, tells of how she had to quit her job to be eligible for Medicaid for her son. Ms. Taylor spoke of her son s health problems during a conference at the University of Toledo Medical School, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, where Mr. Brown promoted the Children s Health Insurance Program. 
Sen. Sherrod Brown holds the hand of Gavin Taylor, 3, as Gavin s mother, Sheena Taylor, tells of how she had to quit her job to be eligible for Medicaid for her son. Ms. Taylor spoke of her son s health problems during a conference at the University of Toledo Medical School, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, where Mr. Brown promoted the Children s Health Insurance Program.
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The questions came quickly yesterday from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) to the staff, faculty, and students of the University of Toledo Medical School, formerly the Medical College of Ohio.

What s here for people who don t have health insurance in Lucas County? What is a clinical nurse specialist? So Kristen, why did you go to medical school? Do any UT Medical Center doctors send patients to Canada for cheaper prescription drugs?

I m not going to report you, the senator said. I think it s a good idea.

Since leaving the House for the Senate earlier this year, Mr. Brown has regularly barnstormed the state with community roundtables. In addition to UT, he discussed economic development yesterday with groups in Bowling Green and Norwalk.

I learn a lot more at these things than at town-hall meetings, Mr. Brown said in an interview.

But for all the questions asked by Mr. Brown, the ultimate answers can remain distant. Officials at UT said that embedded within the larger problems facing the health-care industry are distinct issues involving the treatment of children and graduate medical education.

From a global perspective, we have a society who considers children s health care to be an expense rather than an investment, said Richard Stansley, chairman of the UT Board of Trustees.

Mr. Brown referenced that remark later at a news conference for legislation about the Children s Health Insurance Program that President Bush is prepared to veto.

Geared to help working parents without health-care benefits, the program already provides insurance for 218,000 in Ohio and 6.6 million children nationwide. The legislation could give coverage to an additional 79,000 children in Ohio, Mr. Brown said.

The administration opposes the legislation because it would increase taxes on cigarettes to $1 a pack from 39 cents. Mr. Brown interprets that position as a reflection of the President s values.

Do we want to provide tax breaks for millionaires or do we cover children? Mr. Brown said. The choice is pretty clear to me.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, dean of the UT College of Medicine, said that newly graduated doctors are still students during their residencies, a period of multiple years when they develop their specialties. However, the system treats them as employees and does not provide funds to promote teaching them.

That s a paradigm that has to change, Dr. Gold said.

UT officials then told the senator that the medical school does not receive a fair payment from the federal government for its residency programs because of a flawed evaluation of the Toledo area. Mr. Brown responded with a question.

Can I work with somebody on that?

Contact Joshua Boak at: jboak@theblade.com or 419-724-6728.



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