Friday, September 14, 2007

Kids and Health Care

It is a basic fact that kids can't begin to do their best learning if they are struggling to meet basic needs.

Eric Steele has a compelling op-ed in the Bangor Daily News encouraging the expansion of health care to all children -- shouldn't it be a no-brainer?

To take local action on this issue, check in with the Maine Children's Alliance, the Maine Equal Justice Project, or Consumers for Affordable Health Care

Momsrising is working on the same issue, on a national level -- here is there plea:

THE LOWDOWN: For just a moment, imagine that any child, anywhere in America, could see the doctor when they got sick. No more horror stories about uninsured kids getting sicker and sicker because their parents can't afford the cost of health care. No more parents going bankrupt because of a costly childhood illness. Just a whole nation full of healthier kids getting the care they need.

Now compare that vision to reality: A million more children in our nation are uninsured now than just two years ago. Now 1 in 8 children are without any health care coverage at all. Our nation is on the brink of missing an important opportunity to help these uninsured children. Congress must pass the proposed expanded reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by the end of this month. Sad to say, the President is already threatening to veto the bill--despite the fact that there is broad support from Governors of both parties.

We're up against the clock. We need to send a strong message now that we cannot play politics with the health of our nation's children--and that an expanded SCHIP program should be reauthorized before the deadline! We have an opportunity to send a strong message this coming Tuesday when petition signatures from several different organizations will be delivered together in Washington, D.C. to show broad support for children's health care coverage.

SIGN THE PETITION FOR HEALTHIER KIDS IN AMERICA: Sign our petition now to support better health care coverage for children through expansion of the popular, bi-partisan State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Send a message to Congress and the President that all children deserve health care coverage.

*Sign the petition now.

We need to get as many petition signatures as possible by this coming Tuesday so we can have a big impact when they are delivered on Capitol Hill--so please pass this around to friends to get them to sign on by Monday night as well. Thank you!

THE SCOOP ON SCHIP: This federal health care program (one of our favorites!) helps families afford health coverage for uninsured children (and this help is critically important because right now 1 in 8 children are without health care coverage at all!). Here's how it works--the federal government gives funds to the 50 states, who then use that money plus some of their own dollars to offer affordable health care coverage to working families, usually through private insurance companies. Families that don't meet the low-income standards for Medicaid coverage, but still don't make enough to purchase private insurance, can apply for their children to be covered by these SCHIP-funded plans.

What makes this program so powerful is that it allows states to decide what level of assistance makes sense for their populations--taking into account the state economy, local cost of living, and the total number of uninsured children in their state.

MAKE KIDS' HEALTH CARE A PRIORITY: As a part of a nation-wide, bi-partisan multi-organizational effort, we've been working hard to re-authorize and expand SCHIP this year. Let's tell Congress again, in as many ways as we can (maybe we should hire a blimp!), that we need health care coverage for all kids. Now.

*Don't forget to sign the petition

1 comment:

Elinor Goldberg said...

Children’s Health Insurance
Letter Writing Campaign to First Lady Laura Bush to try and change the President's decision to veto any SCHIP reauthorization that will be helpful for kids.

What is SCHIP?
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created in 1997 to provide health
care for children in working families who are too poor to afford private coverage on their own.

In Maine we have increased coverage to an additional 14,800 children with SCHIP and without reauthorization at a substantially higher level then the President currently will support, many Maine children will not continue to have health insurance. Nationally, there will be millions fewer kids with coverage and we will not be able to reach any of the 6 million without coverage.

Prior to the creation of SCHIP, about 15 percent of all children were uninsured. Since 1997, the number of uninsured children has fallen by almost a third, and today SCHIP covers more than 6 million children. If a program can produce those results in just ten years,imagine what it can accomplish in another ten.

However, in order for that to happen, Congress must renew the SCHIP program this year.

The SCHIP Debate and the Threat of a Veto

Just a few weeks ago, Members of Congress in both the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to renew the SCHIP program. Soon they will vote to pass a bill that will extend the program for another five years. Once the bill is passed by Congress, it will be sent to President Bush. At that time, President Bush will have the choice to sign the legislation into
law, allowing the SCHIP program to continue, or to reject the program with a veto, sending the bill back to Congress. President Bush is threatening to veto the SCHIP program because he does not agree that more money should be spent on it. If this happens, millions of American children will lose their healthcare coverage, and will not be able to receive the check-ups,
flu-shots, and vaccinations they need to grow up healthy.

The Letter Writing Campaign

In an effort to stop the President from vetoing the renewal of the SCHIP program, First Focus, a
bipartisan advocacy organization affiliated with the America’s Promise Alliance, is launching a
letter writing campaign to First Lady Laura Bush. As a long standing champion for children,
particularly in the areas of education and early childhood development, we are hoping to use
Mrs. Bush’s strong record and credibility on these issues to persuade her to weigh in on SCHIP’s
future and to take a favorable stance on this important debate.

Specifically, the campaign will call for letters to Mrs. Bush from children from across the nation,
with each letter highlighting the importance of health care for children and including a personal
plea to Mrs. Bush.

We Need Your Help!

Did you know that over 9 million
children growing up in our country
do not have access to health
insurance? Without health
insurance children are unable to
receive the check-ups, flu-shots,
vaccinations and dental visits they
need in order to grow up healthy.

By participating in this letter writing campaign you will help strengthen support for the reauthorization of
the State Children’s Health
Insurance Program, or SCHIP,
which was created to provide
health insurance for children whose
families otherwise cannot afford it.

Learn More...

Learn more about First Focus
and the State Children’s Health
Insurance Program by visiting: First Focus is a national partner of the Maine Children's Alliance.