The uninsured children health care crisis in the US--The surprising cost to us all

In this post, read about the uninsured children crisis in the US (including some facts, statistics, numbers and costs that might surprise you), how I'm promoting the Healthy Kids Campaign, what Moms Speak Up is doing for Cover the Uninsured week, and how to survive on potatoes, black beans and ponytails. Oh of course...and three things you can do.


My house is a mess, my kids have gotten away with murder (of two rolie polies, as a start), my hair hasn't been out of a pony tail in five days (other than to be washed, which YES, I did wash), I made three innocent children tardy because I forgot my daughter's bike at school, and we've subsisted on starchy dinners all week (mac-n-chz for the kids and loaded potatoes for me and the hubs---have you ever done a Tex-Mex potato, with sour cream and salsa and black beans and cheese? YUM!).

But I'm feel good about what I have managed to do this week: put time and effort into causes near and dear to my heart, not the least of which is health care coverage for kids. At Moms Speak Up today, I'm doing what I can to promote the Cover the Uninsured week.

I discuss the Campaign for Healthy Kids, include an interview with Laura Guerra-Cardus of the Children's Defense Fund, and share personal stories about kids and families struggling with health care coverage.

That's only the beginning.

I know everyone has an opinion about how to solve---or not solve---the problem of health care coverage for uninsured children.

The real problem is the misunderstandings. There are so many misunderstandings about who currently shoulders the burden, who should shoulder the burden, how government programs are funded, and what is happening to kids who lack insurance.

Can I ask you a few favors?

1. Will you keep an open mind and come over to Moms Speak Up?

At the very least, read my interview with Laura Guerra-Cardus, or skim down to the bottom and read the quick and short attached fact sheets.

2. Will you take the time to engage in a productive discussion about this issue? Whether this means simply leaving a comment, stating your opinion, sharing your own stories, or asking a question, I welcome it. Here or at Moms Speak Up.

3. Will you help promote this issue and spread information---encourage dialog about it---by posting a link to any or all of the articles on Moms Speak Up on your own sites?

Whether you realize it or not, you are paying for uninsured children right now. You are paying with higher local taxes, higher service rates at health care providers, higher copays and deductibles, and so forth.

But that pales in comparison to what uninsured children and their families pay.

Come join in discussion about this issue.

I thought I knew, but even I've been surprised by things I've learned.

And it's only committed me more deeply to helping the 9.4 million children---4 million new this year courtesy of President Bush's veto of both bills to help CHIP---who lack health care coverage.


Let me share a few teaser points. Did you know?

Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) currently provide coverage to over 30 million children.

9.4 million children do not have health care coverage.

90 percent of those 9.4 million live in working households and a majority live in two-parent families. See a breakdown in charts and graphics of who the uninsured are by clicking here.

31% of uninsured children live in families who earn between ~$20,000 to $40,000 annually.

Many of these families lack insurance because the base cost is 30% or more of their income, plans don't cover their children's health care or special care needs, or private and group plans deny them.

The current Medicaid and SCHIP programs are confusing and burdensome to navigate. Enrolling is complicated, time-consuming, and slow. The programs are understaffed, suffer chronic budget shortfalls, and are restricted by wild variations in eligibility.

The All Healthy Children Act---which passed both the House and Senate but was vetoed---had solutions.

Tax credits carry a variety of risks.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "Nationwide, the amount employees pay for family coverage increased 30 percent from 2001 to 2005, while family policyholders’ income increased just 3 percent over the same period." Additionally, "...the average cost of family coverage increased nearly $2,500—from $8,281 in 2001 to $10,728 in 2005." Further, more people are working in jobs that do not offer health insurance benefits, and plans are cutting back coverage.

Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
Julie Pippert: Using my words
Moms Speak Up: Talking about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern.


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