by Jessica Foster
People often say, the children of today are the leaders or the future of tomorrow. Needless to say, children and their well-being is one area nearly everyone agrees is important. In 2007, Pennsylvania and the Cover All Kids movement expanded health care access to children via the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). However, there is one group who was left out of the discussion; undocumented children. Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) has created Dream Care, a campaign we can all get behind that could eventually enable the estimated 24,000 uninsured children of Pennsylvania this much needed health care access.
A recent study conducted by PCCY took an in-depth look into the lives of children who could benefit from Dream Care. The results are disheartening, indicating that for every 8 out of 10 cases, children either received needed health care after a delay or not at all. The financial burden was indicated as a major factor in every case.
This is just the start of a vicious cycle. The condition of uninsured children who went without preventive care or treatment for minor injuries or illness would often worsen over time, in many cases resulting in costly emergency care services. Not only do the children suffer in terms of well-being, there were also numerous cases where their school-life was affected as indicated by drops in attendance, grades and participation. Parents and family members also suffered emotionally from the stress of being unable to do more for their child, notably in cases where some children with citizenship were treated differently and had the necessary health care access.
The good news however is that Dream Care offers a way to correct this! But before you are put off by the estimated price tag of $15.4 million dollars (still less than 0.05% of the budget), consider the benefits, both socially and financially, of why you should support this cause.
The money is already there, as federal budgets lower current CHIP state costs by $90 million dollars to be picked up by the federal government.
The state could save nearly 50% on costs per child when comparing CHIP costs to average uncompensated care costs paid by hospitals and the state (roughly $2,500 versus $4,600).
Similar programs have already been implemented in IL, MA, NY, WA, DC, and parts of CA, and shown positive results!
Last but not least, do it for the kids! Expanding CHIP to include them would grant them coverage for health, dental and vision costs.
Join PHAN and a growing list of organizations who already are behind Dream Care and help all of Pennsylvania´s children gain health care access. To sign onto the campaign email Colleen McCauley of PCCY at firstname.lastname@example.org.