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Going To The Emergency Room? Get In Line Behind The Others

1396 words - 6 pages

The next time your son breaks his arm and must wait six hours to see a doctor in the emergency room, thank the government for the inadequacy of public insurance programs. There are 10 million uninsured children in the United States; 8 million of these uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid, a public health insurance program. This high number of uninsured children directly results from increases in the number of families lacking health insurance every year since 1987. In the United States, approximately one in four persons in the nonelderly population lacks health insurance. These families often lack access to affordable employer-sponsored coverage and thus look into public insurance programs, such as Medicaid, to provide coverage for their families. The problem with programs such as Medicaid is that publicly insured children are 50% more likely than privately insured children to have unmet health needs. In fact, low socioeconomic status bears numerous consequences: poor nutrition, less educational opportunities, higher exposure to environmental hazards, and inadequate housing, to name just a few. All of these burdens increase the chances that a poor child will have poor health. But every citizen in the U.S. should pressure government officials to better public health insurance programs such as Medicaid, not just those who use the programs, because these programs severely affect their jobs, access to emergency health care, and taxes.Many citizens do not know that Medicaid is different from Medicare and thus do not realize the problems with it or how it affects them. Both Medicare and Medicaid are federal government programs, but Medicare is managed by the federal government and gives health care coverage to individuals 65 or older or who have a disability or kidney disease, no matter what the individual's income. Medicaid is a state-run program with federal funding and provides health care coverage for people with low or limited incomes. To qualify for Medicaid, an individual must meet income and asset limits set by the state. Each state varies in its laws and policies regarding Medicaid. In most states, an individual's income must be below $600 a month. Medicaid is also a program which suffers from lack of financial funding and supplies inadequate services to enrollees while Medicare does not have these problems.Although Medicaid is available to socioeconomically disadvantaged people, many do not use Medicaid for various reasons. One reason is that many citizens are uninformed about the programs. Many low-income people think Medicaid is for families on welfare, not working families. In reality, Medicaid recipients or eligible recipients are often employed but not offered employer-sponsored insurance and thus need supplemental insurance. The welfare staff is supposed to be the primary educator for welfare applicants and beneficiaries about Medicaid, since most Medicaid recipients are people who were recently enrolled in the welfare program....

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