Uninsured U.S. Children


    There are currently 9 million uninsured children in the United States. Census data shows that 70% of these children live in a home where at least one parent works full time. The same data indicates that about two-thirds of these children would qualify for government-sponsored health insurance if parents were to apply for it. Uninsured people are much more likely to go without essential medical care, including vaccinations and treatments for life-threatening illnesses. It is all the more sad when it comes to children, because they are so dependent on their parents and the social organizations that are set up to help them. A complicated enrollment process and lack of knowledge about the programs are the main reasons given as to why so many of these eligible children are not enrolled in government-sponsored health insurance programs.

    Maybe the government likes to keep things the way they are in order to avoid paying for health care for all eligible children? If not, there’s no reason for the government-sponsored health insurance enrollment process to be complicated. Everything could be done on a single sheet of paper with a copy of a tax return attached to prove financial eligibility. These forms could be available at any doctor’s office or hospital. They might be simple enough for anyone to understand and have time to complete.

    The problem of parents not knowing about the availability of programs could also be solved if the government really wanted to appropriate adequate resources to provide them with health insurance. The money is there, but it’s not always used in the most efficient way. The availability of public health care for eligible children should be actively advertised. Public schools could send notes home with the children. Hospitals could explain the program and help parents register newborns before they leave the hospital. The IRS may send information to families with qualifying income. If the enrollment process were made simple and straightforward and parents were made aware of the availability of programs, our country could have 3 million children without health insurance instead of 9 million. It’s a big difference.

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