Uninsured American Children

There are currently 9 million uninsured children in the US. Census data shows that 70% of those children live in a home where at least one parent works full-time. The same data shows that about two-thirds of these children would qualify for government-sponsored health insurance if their parents applied for it. Uninsured people are much more likely to go without essential medical care, including vaccinations and treatments for potentially fatal diseases. This is especially sad when children are involved because they are so dependent on their parents and the community organizations that have been set up to help them. A complicated enrollment process and lack of knowledge about the programs are the main reasons why so many of these eligible children are not enrolled in government-sponsored health insurance programs.

Maybe the government likes to leave things as they are to avoid having to pay for health care for all eligible children? If not, there’s no reason why the enrollment process for government-sponsored health insurance should be complicated. Everything could be done on a single sheet of paper with a copy of a tax return attached to prove financial fitness. These forms may be available at any doctor’s office or hospital. They can be so simple that anyone can understand them and have time to complete them.

The problem of parents not being aware of the availability of the programs could also be solved if the government really wanted to allocate sufficient 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 should be actively advertised. Public schools can send notes home with children. Hospitals can explain the program and help parents enroll newborns before they leave the hospital. The IRS can send information to families with qualifying incomes. If the enrollment process were straightforward and simple and parents were informed of the availability of the programs, our country could have 3 million children without health insurance instead of 9 million. That’s a big difference.

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