The Question Of Health Care Access For Children

1188 words - 5 pages

In 2012, only 85.8% of Georgians with eligible children were participating in the Medicaid/CHIP program. Nationwide the rate of enrollment is only 88.1% of eligible children. (“Medicaid/CHIP Participation Rates Among Children: An Update” 2014) After twelve months 30% of eligible children are not reenrolled. (Sommers 2006) Designed to provide health care coverage for children whose parents have too high an income to qualify for Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP was passed in 1997. But parents/caregivers are not taking full advantage of this. Lack of access to medical care is, without question, detrimental not only to the children but to society as well. ...view middle of the document...

5% of one family member’s income to determine eligibility for all of the family, a cost that in reality is a considerable amount larger. (“A Cruel Blow to American Families” 2013).
Barriers that exist for the families are numerous. Many states do not offer 12-month continuous eligibility for enrollees in CHIP/Medicaid programs; Georgia is one that does not offer this option. (“Has 12-Month Continuous Eligibility for Children Under Medicaid and Separate CHIP Programs” 2014) Reenrollment issues include basis on monthly income vs. yearly income, scheduling for the face to face monthly interviews that many states require, having to take time away from work, transportation issues/costs, and possible psychological issues (stigma). Another aspect to consider is whether or not the mother or siblings have health care coverage. Studies done by Dr. Benjamin Sommers have found that there is a significant difference in enrollment if the child’s family members, especially the mother, has healthcare. This could be something for policy makers to take into consideration when changes are made to the existing programs. Whether or not there is continued health care as an adult is influenced by the actions taken when a person is young. (Sommers 2006)
Understanding what the barriers are, whether they are from the provider or the family offers a chance to develop solutions so that these issues may be overcome. Diminished chronic conditions (such as diabetes, obesity, and behavior/learning problems) on a national scale are only part of the picture of the push for national health care reform. Encouraging people of all ages to develop better diet and exercise habits will offer substantial long term benefits to the population. Especially if the mother is obese: recent studies have shown that if the mother is obese this impacts a child’s chronic health conditions exponentially.
So far, policy makers treat children as separate entities instead of a member of a family structure. The goal of improving accessibility for children (and their families) as well as the nations overall health status, could be obtained quicker by altering health policies so that they are treating the family as a whole unit. By improving health care access for children and their families, this in turn could elevate the current dismal trend of chronic illnesses we have been seeing here in the United States. Children learn from their parents, and they also learn to turn to medical care when signs of illness appear if they have access when young. Health care providers become a positive presence in their lives, not a stressful one. Overall, healthier habits could be...

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