The value of child health insurance programs

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

A recent on HealthDay news reported that government-sponsored health insurance for low-income children boosts their access to care and improves their quality of life. Reporting in the September issue of Pediatrics, researchers at the Rand Corp. studied more than 3,400 California children, aged 2 to 16, who were newly enrolled in the Healthy Families public health insurance program. They found the children reported real improvements, such as feeling better physically, getting along better with their peers, and doing better in school. Enrollment in the program also led to a sharp decline in the number of children who went without needed health care. At the start of enrollment, about 16 percent of parents reported that their children had gone without needed care within the previous year. That rate dropped to 7 percent by the second year of enrollment.

Many readers of this note, especially those who live abroad, may be puzzled as to why all children in this country do not have health insurance, but they don't. Health insurance is a luxury that far too many families cannot afford in our country, leaving their children vulnerable to untreated illnesses. When I returned to college after my son was born, I applied and qualified for a program similar to this one. As a full time student I could in no way afford regular health insurance for my young son. The program enabled me to take him in for well child exams and any sick appointments we needed. It was an amazing gift at the time since he did get sick from time to time and he needed medical attention. I hope this program receives the exposure it needs to reach its targeted audience.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.