How to Provide Healthcare for All Kids


One of my best friends called me this week and told me that she just started clipping coupons for the first time in her life. All across the country, moms and dads are sitting down at their kitchen tables and figuring out how to make their money stretch farther. If we are thinking carefully about our money, it's only fair that our leaders do the same. How? By stretching our healthcare dollars farther by making sure that all kids have healthcare coverage.

There are close to 9 million children in the U.S. who do not have health insurance. When children have gaps in coverage and do not get timely preventive care, they often end up requiring more expensive health care, such as hospitalizations and emergency room visits. In California, a study of 9 local Children's Health Initiatives (CHI) found that providing children health insurance reduced hospitalizations in the CHI counties by 25 percent and saved up to $7.35 million annually in preventable hospitalizations. If all low-income children had health insurance, the state could save $24.3 million per year in preventable hospitalizations. Not enough to convince you?

Not only does healthcare for all kids save money now, it can affect kids' long-term educational outcomes. Children covered by Healthy Families (low-cost health insurance for kids living just above the federal poverty level) showed a 63% improvement in "paying attention" and a 64% improvement in "keeping up with school activities" over their performance when uninsured. The result? Fewer children will need costly educational interventions.

Covering all kids is something that we can do now. Children are the least expensive population to insure. Children make up over half of the Medicaid population, but they account for only 23% of the total Medicaid spending. But when primary care is delayed because mom and dad can't afford to take their child to the doctor, a toothache can become a serious infection, pink eye can leave a child blind, and kids who should be home for a day miss weeks of school.

So what are we waiting for? Move over Ben Bernanke. Our leaders need a lesson in Momonomics 101 from moms and dads who know that we can't just blindly cut essential programs, we need to spend wisely. MomsRising.org is asking its members to tell our leaders that covering all kids makes economic sense.

A Peaceful Revolution is a blog about innovative ideas to strengthen America's families through public policies, business practices, and cultural change. Done in collaboration with MomsRising.org, read a new post here each week.

 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.