Children’s Aid Fights For Access To Healthcare For Uninsured

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insuranceThe number of uninsured Americans has increased exponentially in the last few years. According to the United States Census Bureau‘s most recent report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008, approximately 46.3 million people in this country are uninsured. While Medicaid, Medicare and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program report the number of uninsured children has decreased by by 800,000, there are still 7.3 million children nationwide without insurance.

The public programs serving these children are very much in demand. In fact, enrollment in Medicaid has gone through the roof largely because of the distressed economy, giving birth to a whole new generation of enrollees who previously did not qualify for access to public healthcare. It is no surprise to learn that the American poverty level reached 13.2% in 2008, the highest level in over ten years. Now, more than ever, economically disadvantaged communities and families need guidance with navigating the public healthcare system.

The state of New York offers government-sponsored health insurance programs: Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Family Health Plus.  Additionally, New York Governor David A. Paterson recently signed legislation to make health insurance more affordable and to improve health care access for New Yorkers. Likewise, the Children’s Aid Society is committed to helping reduce the percentage of uninsured in New York City, so that no one is left behind.

Additional quote from Lorraine Gonzalez, Director, Health Care Access Program, Children’s Aid:

In the decade since New York State acted to reduce/eliminate the number of uninsured but eligible residents of the state with a program of facilitated enrollment, there have been substantive successes. As a state, we have expanded Child Health Plus eligibility to 400% of poverty; created a single statewide eligibility standard for Medicaid; eliminated resource thresholds for Medicaid; and allowed residents to self-declare income and residency in the renewal process. New York State has been a pioneer in modeling systems that help make health insurance an affordable reality for all. Governor Paterson demonstrated a commitment to help reduce/eliminate the uninsured rate in New York State for all children by expanding the federal poverty level for Child Health Plus to 400% in September 2008.  While recognizing that acclaim for the work of those invested in this cause is due, we must build upon our successes and progress in our efforts to eliminate the remaining obstacles: gaps in coverage, the need for support for navigating the health care system, and discrimination and disparities in the quality of health care for those who are publicly insured.

When it comes to health care, we know that the current federal administration acknowledges the fundamental right of all individuals to have appropriate coverage and access to health care. We are at a pivotal moment when we can make health care a reality for all with our new political capital and effective strategic planning. The Children’s Aid Society is dedicated to this effort and invites you to remain a committed partner.