Thursday, February 14, 2008
Putting a face to the health care crisis for kids (and families) as health insurance options expire and vanish
As many of you have probably figured out, Kyla is a good friend of mine. I've sketched a portrait with words about how I admire her and passed along awards. We've brought our kids together to play, with entertaining results of course. Patience has declared BubTar, "Good to play with and fun, even though he's a boy." Persistence thinks KayTar is neat, and loves looking at the photos that Kyla puts up each day. Kyla and I broke our stress together this past Saturday by having a lovely girl's day out, including being ladies who lunch and shop. If I spent some money on a lovely Jane Austen leather bound collection, it's her fault. ;) I'm going to beg advice from Mr. Tar about whether I ought to add another hard-drive or just invest in a new computer.
In short, the Tars are real people to us, people we like and care about. We want the best for them. That can mean many things, but for KayTar, it means continuing health care to help her with her challenges.
There is nothing more important to loving parents than being able to provide not just adequately but well for their children. Not being able to is hugely stressful, and we will make amazing compromises to find the means to take care of our children.
When that care is as basic and essential as necessary health care for a child, it seems inexcusable to me that it may not be available.
Say what you will about adults being entitled to health care. I will gladly debate with you on that point. But when it comes to children...there is no debate. Take care of the children.
Our current president recently vetoed a plan that would have done that. Who does something like that?
Not too long ago I had a friend living in bad conditions, with possible homelessness looming. I gladly wrote a letter to help her appeal for aid for health care for her children. I did my best to find and send work opportunities her way. Choices were limited, though, because childcare costs more than she could earn. And I wrung my hands about what else to do. My mind turned through many possibilities, running through ideas a little frantically. I lost sleep over it some days, worrying. I finally confessed to my best friend, who said she was doing the same. We began running ideas out loud to one another, circling through the same thoughts, knowing there had to be something to do...but unable to figure it out. I sent letters and emails to aid agencies, then left voicemail after voicemail. I never even got a call back, or response to my email.
Nobody seems interested in preventing a tragedy. All we see to be able to do is crisis management after the fact.
How horrible. I cannot tell you how this infuriates and devastates me.
Ultimately, with friendly support and her own gumption, my friend set herself up well and is fine.
How many people like her are there, though, who don't have the community she did?
Kyla, like my friend, has a community. She has a corporeal life one and a cyber one. KayTar is already lucky in her family, and has been lucky in the care she gets.
That care, though, is at risk, and that's just plain wrong.
I believe in Kyla, and know she will find a solution. I believe she has, but oh how I shudder that she has had to struggle and compromise so to do that.
Go...read Kyla's story.
Think about KayTar and all the other children---nearly 9 million of them without health insurance. 9 million. That's one in seven. Many of them are in the middle class.
If "kids who need healthcare" is simply a faceless, meaningless statistic to you...let KayTar be that face, be the humanity behind the numbers. Look at that face at the top of this post. How precious is that face? That's the face our government just said no to...no, you can't have health care that is vital to your quality of life.
Then look at these issues and facts:
* SCHIP expired on September 30th, 2007 because of Bush killing it. As a result, millions of children (6 million as it happens) lost health coverage:
"Many of these children are uninsured because their families' incomes are too high for Medicaid but too low to make private health insurance affordable. SCHIP coverage only costs these families 5% of their gross income and many children can get SCHIP coverage for free. Although this program has been a step in the right direction, as many as 2 million children who qualify for SCHIP coverage still lack health insurance, in part due to insufficient funding." Source: Insuring our children
* "According to the Center for Studying Health System Change, health care spending rose 10 percent in 2002 and that followed a slightly more than 10 percent increase in 2001—the largest jump in more than a decade. In the first six months of 2003, health spending rose another 8.5 percent. Premiums for employer-sponsored coverage increased nearly 13 percent in 2002. As employers refuse to pay their fair share, this trend may result in millions of workers losing their employer-based coverage." Source: "What's Wrong with America's Health Care?"
* "Every year, 759,000 children with asthma may be at risk of a major asthma attack while they have no health insurance. About 30 percent of those families earn more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, putting them above the threshold for the state children's health insurance program in most states." Source: "Many Children With Asthma Not Receiving Medication Due To Lack Of Insurance"
Go Google "children without health insurance" and see what pops. You'll be stunned, and concerned, to say the least.
Then, let's come back together and wring our hands...then think of something To Do. Because I know there is something and together we can find it, then make sure that KayTar and all the kids in a similar boat get the care they need.
Let's be Kyla's community.
And the community we can be proud of for all the other children.
Come back...and let's talk about how...
Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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