It's been described mostly in terms of taxes and the economy, but the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, signed by President Clinton Tuesday, also has a health-care component - $24 billion to provide insurance for the children of the working poor. We recommend that other states follow Pennsylvania's lead and start soon on plans to phase in this new system.
Legislators in Harrisburg heard testimony this week from doctors and parents whose children are served by a clinic in the state capital, children who might otherwise lose coverage when new laws force their parents off the welfare rolls.
Lawmakers heard that for some working parents, insurance is now too expensive. That shouldn't be a problem under the new law, unless the state sets up a new bureaucracy to administer it.
We'd rather see that job done by Pennsylvania's insurance companies, under state regulation, with some incentives for employers who agree to take on some of the costs, perhaps by handling the paperwork involved in filing claims.