America’s Uninsured Children

There are currently 9 million uninsured children in the United States. Census data shows that 70% of these children live in a household where at least one parent works full-time. The same data show that about two-thirds of these children would have been eligible for publicly funded health insurance if their parents had applied. People without insurance are more likely to go without basic health care, including vaccines and treatments for potentially fatal diseases. This is especially sad when children are involved, as they are very dependent on their parents and the social organizations created to help them. A complicated enrollment process and lack of information about the programs are the main reasons why many of these eligible children do not enroll in publicly funded health insurance programs.

Maybe the government likes to keep things the way they are so they don’t have to pay for medical care for all the eligible kids? Otherwise, there is no reason why the enrollment process for government-sponsored health insurance should be complicated. Everything can be done on one sheet with a copy of the tax return attached to prove financial eligibility. These forms can be found in any doctor’s office or hospital. They can be simple enough that anyone can understand them and have time to complete them.

The issue of parents not being aware of the existence of programs can also be solved if the government really wants to allocate adequate resources to provide them with health insurance. The money is there, it’s just not always used in the most efficient way. The availability of public health care for eligible children is something that should be actively advertised. Public schools could send the records home with the children. Hospitals can explain the program and help parents register their newborns before discharge. The IRS may send information to families with qualifying income. If the enrollment process was simple and straightforward and parents were informed about the availability of programs, 3 million children in our country could be without health insurance instead of 9 million. This is a big difference.

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