Expanding health insurance for kids
Dear Editor:More than 9 million children in our country do not have health insurance coverage, and Congress can take a big step to helping them this summer by expanding the highly successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).For over a decade, this program has increased the number of low-income children with access to health coverage. As a result, the uninsured rate among low-income children dropped by a third between 1997 and 2003. This is great progress, but so much more needs to be done.There is no excuse for any child in our nation to go without access to health care, which is critically important to the well-being and development of all children. Uninsured children in our community are five times more likely than the insured to have a delayed or unmet health care need. They are also at higher risk of missed diagnoses of serious illness and preventable hospitalizations.Congressional budget writers have provided $50 billion in new resources to improve the SCHIP program. It is imperative that lawmakers use this extra money not only to maintain coverage for those children currently in SCHIP, but also to enable states to enroll the millions more uninsured children who are eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid.Congress returns from its July 4 recess next week and will begin debate on SCHIP. Please call or write senators Allard and Salazar and Rep. Salazar and urge them to vote for expanding this proven program.Tom ZiemannGlenwood Springs
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