|Healthy Child Campaign seeks coverage for all kids|
Health care for every child in the
United States is the goal of a Children's Defense Fund campaign being
supported by United Methodist Women.
A UMNS photo by Allysa Adams.
By Linda Bloom*
April 24, 2007 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)
Every child in the United States, regardless of immigration status or
family income, should have access to comprehensive health and mental
health care, according to The United Methodist Church's women's
To help achieve that goal, the Women's Division of the United
Methodist Board of Global Ministries is joining the "Healthy Child
Campaign: Covering All Children in 2007," sponsored by the Children's
In her address during the division's April 20-23 spring meeting, UMW
chief executive Lois Dauway said 9 million U.S. children are without
health insurance, even though nearly 90 percent of those children live
in households with working parents.
"Many of these children are eligible for coverage under Medicaid and the
State Children's Health Insurance Program but are not enrolled in
existing programs in large part because of different eligibility and
enrollment barriers that make it difficult to obtain or keep coverage,"
"Millions more children are underinsured or at risk of losing
coverage if their parents change jobs or more employers drop family
One such child at risk was Devante Johnson of Houston. He suffered
from advanced cancer of the kidneys and depended on Medicaid for
treatments that he needed to survive.
Despite his mother's best efforts, Devante's paperwork for renewal
for Medicaid was lost in the bureaucracy and he was without coverage for
four months in 2006. "During this time, he depended upon clinical
trials for care and his tumors continued to grow," Dauway said.
"A state representative intervened to restore coverage, but it was
too late. On March 1, 2007, Devante Johnson died from complications of
cancer. He was 14 years old."
The goal of the Healthy Child Campaign is to consolidate children's
health coverage under Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance
Program into a single federal program that guarantees all medically
necessary services for children.
According to the Children's Defense Fund, the cost is estimated at
$26.1 billion a year, which equals 25 days of spending on Medicare in
2007 and 16 days of general military spending this year. Because it
would be a federal program, states would incur no additional cost for
expanding coverage and enhancing benefits.
Under the program, children age 18 and younger whose family income is
at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level - or $61,950 for a
family of four in 2007 - would be covered. Children with family incomes
over the 300 percent level could buy into the program. Pregnant women
at or below the 300 percent level would be eligible for prenatal,
delivery and postpartum care.
The Women's Division, which administers the church's United Methodist
Women's groups, plans to support the Healthy Child Campaign through
petitions, an action alert and opportunities for education and
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lois Dauway: "Every 46 seconds, a child is born uninsured in America."
Lois Dauway: "Her son went without coverage ... and his tumors continued to grow."
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