Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Covering Kids Healthcare in America, Improvement or Embarrassment?

A story just cited a 20 percent drop in uninsured children in the U.S. between 1997 and 2004. The number declined to 8 million from approximately 10 million. Should the country be proud of the 2 million covered or embarrassed by the 8 million left out?

Statistics show 70% or 5.6 million children of those uncovered to be eligible for state programs. What business would be a success if demand totaled 7.6 million people, but it only provided service to 2 million?

What’s happened since 2004? In Texas Children’s Health Insurance enrollment dropped precipitously from its all time high of 529,000 to 295,000 in August 2006. The drop from 2004 is not as steep but is over 120,000 kids.

Only in the United States would this be considered a resounding success. As our elected officials desperately seek to make the President’s tax cuts permanent, what will happen to programs that help the least of these? If Republicans succeed in eliminating the Estate Tax then Katy Bar the Door. Another $70 billion a year would need to be eliminated.

While I am puzzled by the lack of political will to ensure every American has some level of health benefits whether they are employer sponsored or community assisted, I am astonished at the abandonment of so many children. Intended or unintended, the restricting of government programs to citizens will add more uncovered and thus uncared for children to the roles.

How did America become such an uncaring society? When did it change from neighbor helping neighbor to people stepping on people? What twisted minds can accommodate tax cuts for the wealthy so children, seniors and the disabled can suffer? And how do they get in office? It seems more like an embarrassment to me….

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