Thursday, August 14, 2008

Naked Kids

According to a report from the Robert Wood Foundation, too many children are going naked in our country.

Naked as in lacking health insurance cover.

The majority of children are (apparently) covered under some form of private insurance, either through a parent's group health plan or individual health insurance although the exact number and percentages is difficult to ascertain from the report.

Some of the conclusions of the report should be readily apparent.

Thirty-one percent of all uninsured kids in America did not visit a doctor's office last year, compared to just nine percent of children with insurance. Three out of four insured kids (77 percent) received a "well child" check-up in the past year, compared to less than half of all kids without insurance (45 percent).

Well visits in and of themselves are usually $100 or less with 50% or more of the cost of the visit subsidized by health insurance. But there are also a number of outlets for children to get free or very low cost checkups through taxpayer funded and privately funded operations. Childhood immunizations can be expensive but most of these are covered by private insurance and available at little or no cost through public health services.

Public programs are a lifeline for children who might otherwise be uninsured, especially kids with chronic conditions. About 10 million children nationwide have chronic illnesses - 3.6 million of whom are covered by SCHIP or Medicaid.

Taxpayer funded services for children with chronic or severe illness should be a priority in considering the wide array of social services. While it is the parent's responsibility to provide and care for their children we should also be willing to help out those who are truly in need.

On a personal note, I have clients and know individuals who are fully capable of providing health insurance for their children but would rather let the taxpayer bear that burden. There are countless stories of parents who work for company's or state, local and federal government operations who shift the burden of child healthcare to the taxpayer.

It seems anytime a free meal is offered there are some who will abuse that privilege. Some form of accountability needs to be in place to curb the abuse.

The report focuses on children with "special health care needs" but does not elaborate.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data show that more than 9 million children remain uninsured nationwide

That figure represents roughly 20% of the total number of uninsured as commonly used by the press. The report indicates overall, 91% of children are insured nationwide with roughly one third covered by taxpayer funded programs and the remainder under private insurance. This compares to roughly 16% of the total population classified as uninsured.

It would appear, based on this report, we are doing a much better job of covering our children than we are the general population.

Thanks to Patrick McCabe for a heads up.
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