I believe that every child deserves to start life with healthy bodies and minds. All children need access to complete health and mental health services that provide preventive care when they are well and treatment when they are sick. But today, 11. 3 million children, more than 90 percent of them in working families have no health insurance. 11. 3 million children age 18 and under are uninsured, the largest number ever reported by the Census Bureau. More than 90 percent of uninsured children have one or more parents who work. Other aspects of uninsured children include the following.
Three in five live in two-parent families. ?? Two-thirds have family incomes above the poverty level, but 70 percent have incomes below $26,660 a year for a family of three (200 percent of the federal poverty level in 1997). The majority of uninsured children are in the group aimed by the new child health legislation. Their parents earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford any health coverage for their child or children. Many of the parents get up every morning; go to work, pay their taxes, and abide by the laws cannot provide their kids with health insurance.
In 1996, 70 percent of all Americans added to the ranks of the uninsured were children. The employer-based health insurance system is collapsing for children, as businesses cut their support for dependent coverage. Since 1989, children have lost private health coverage at twice the rate of adults. (Bureau of the Census, March 1990 and March 1997 Current Population Surveys). Every day, the number of children without private insurance grows by roughly 3,000. (Bureau of the Census, March 1997 Current Population Survey).
As recently as 1980, the majority of employees at medium-to-large companies had employers who paid 100 percent of family health insurance costs. (Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www. bls. gov/sahome. html, Employee Benefits Survey, Percent of Employees With Medical Care Required to Contribute Toward Cost of Family Coverage, Medium and Large Private Sector Establishments, 1980). Today, less than one-quarter do. (Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Benefits in Medium and Large Private Establishment [sic], 1993. (1994, November) Bulletin 2456).
More than three-fourths of workers must pay some or all of those costs, and the employee’s share averages $1,900 a year for HMOs offered by the largest employers. (Jensen et al. (1997). The New Dominance of Managed Care: Insurance Trends in the 1990s (pp. 130-131). Health Affairs, 16). One in four workers today has no access to employment-based family health coverage, at any price. (General Accounting Office. (1997, Feb. ). Employment-Based Health Insurance: Costs Increase and Family Coverage Decreases, GAO/HEHS-97-35). Children without health care pay a very high price, which is their life.
They are at a risk of illnesses that can be easily prevented ahead of time. The majority of uninsured children with asthma and one in three uninsured children with recurring ear infections never see a doctor during the year. (Newacheck, P. W. , et al. (1996). “Children’s access to primary care: Difference by race, income, and insurance status,” Pediatrics, 97, 26-32. Based on data from National Medical Expenditure Survey 1987). Many kids are hospitalized for acute asthma attacks that could have been prevented or suffer permanent hearing loss from untreated ear infections.
Another fact is that children with untreated illness often cannot keep up in school. Children sitting in class with pain or discomfort are simply not ready to learn. According to the state of Florida, uninsured children are 25 percent more likely to miss school. (Supra). One Pennsylvania insurer found that nearly one in five uninsured children had untreated vision problems, and children unable to see the blackboard often fall behind in school. (Caring Foundation for Children. (1997). An Impact Study of the Caring Program for Children and BlueCHIP of Pennsylvania).
While children are fighting to stay healthy, parents are fighting financially to keep their child or children? fs health safe. In a husband-wife family with only one child, if the parents are making less than $34,700 a year, they can spend $110,040. If they are making $34,700-$58,300 a year, they spend $149,820. If they are making more than $58,500 a year, they spend $218,400 and 7% of that money goes toward health care alone. In a single-parent family with one child, if that parent makes less than $34,700 a year, he or she can spend $104,400. If he or she is making more than $34,700 a year, he or she can spend $219,810.
And this does not include the price of college and the cost of inflation. This problem of this many uninsured children has taken an affect of Americans, who wishes to solve this issue. People have written to magazines, newspapers, and to their government. Irwin Redlener, MD. , president of The Children? fs Health Fund of New York, is disgusted by this issue anf feels that no one in America cares about it. He wrote: ?gIt seems as if nobody The question is ? gWhat can we do to eradicate this problem?? h Some suggestions for individuals or groups are investing in children? fs health coverage, which saves taxpayers? f money.
One in four uninsured children either uses the hospital emergency room as a regular source of health care or has no regular source of care. (Simpson, G. , et al. (1997). Access to Health Care. Part 1: Children. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics, 10, 196). The state Florida found that when parents were helped to buy coverage for uninsured children, children received health care in doctors? f offices rather than hospital emergency rooms. Emergency room visits dropped by 70 percent in areas of the state served by the new program, saving the state? fs taxpayers and consumers $13 million in 1996.
(Florida Healthy Kids Corporation (1997, Feb. ) Healthy Kids Annual Report). Other ways to solve this problem is to become informed about the new child health law such as, reading newspapers, magazines, and organizations’ newsletters for articles about children’s health or the new program. Build broad public support, lobbying your governor and state legislators, and by informing the media. Organizations that already exist that helps uninsured chlidren is called the Children? fs Health Insurance Program also known as CHIP. CHIP was enacted by the U. S. Congress in August 1997. It? fs designed primarily to help the 11.
3 million children who do not have health insurance, whose working families with incomes is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford any health care coverage for their child or children. Once enrolled, children are generally eligible for regular check ups, immunizations, eyeglasses, doctor visits, prescriptions drug coverage, and hospital care. In conclusion the goal of most of the major health care reform proposals is to extend health care coverage to all children who are currently uninsured. An expansion of health coverage would greatly decrease the number of uninsured kids with two parents or single parent.