|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
You won’t see these stories on television, but Marian Wright Edelman and Dr. Irwin Redlener could talk to you all day and all night about children whose lives have been lost or ruined because they didn’t have health insurance.
This is not a situation one associates with a so-called advanced country. That you can have sick children wasting away in the United States, the wealthiest nation on the planet, because medical treatment that could relieve their suffering is withheld by men and women with dollar signs instead of compassion in their eyes is beyond unconscionable.
Ms. Edelman is the president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and Dr. Redlener is president of the Children’s Health Fund.
Both are appalled at the embarrassing fact that nine million American children have no health coverage at all. Among them are children with diabetes, chronic asthma, heart conditions, life-threatening allergies and so on. In many instances they are left untreated until it is too late.
Leaving children uninsured is a form of Russian roulette, Dr. Redlener said.
“All children should be covered,” said Ms. Edelman.
The Congressional Budget Office and most researchers have agreed on the six million figure for the number of youngsters who are eligible for government-sponsored health coverage but remain unenrolled — roughly four million for Medicaid and two million for S-chip. This has not been controversial.
Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services began circulating a study that tries to make the case that the total number of eligible but uninsured youngsters is a mere 794,000, an absurdly low figure.
If you can wave a magic wand and make five million poor kids disappear, you no longer have to think about caring for them.
Advocates like Dr. Redlener and Ms. Edelman don’t have that luxury.
“Kids who grow up with poor access to health care carry a high risk of having underdiagnosed and undertreated chronic illness, both physical and emotional,” said Dr. Redlener. “We know what to do. We should fully fund this effort at the $50 billion level and make coverage mandatory for all children.”
Labels: health care