There are currently 9 million uninsured children in the United States. Census data shows that 70 percent of these children live in households where at least one parent works full time. The same data suggests that about two-thirds of these children would be eligible for government-sponsored health insurance if their parents applied. Uninsured people are more likely to not have necessary medical care, including vaccinations and treatment for potentially deadly conditions. It’s especially sad when children are involved because they are so dependent on their parents and the social organizations set up to help them. Complicated enrollment processes and lack of knowledge about these programs are the main reasons why so many of these eligible children are not enrolled in government-sponsored health insurance programs.
Maybe the government likes to keep the status quo in order to avoid paying medical bills for all eligible children? If not, there’s no reason the process of enrolling in government-sponsored health insurance should be complicated. Everything can be done on a single piece of paper with a copy of the tax return to prove financial eligibility. These forms can be obtained at any doctor’s office or hospital. They may be simple enough that anyone can understand them and have time to complete them.
The problem of parents not knowing whether these plans are available could also be addressed if the government really wanted to allocate sufficient resources to provide them with health insurance. The money is there, it’s just not always used in the most efficient way. Public health care for eligible children should be actively promoted. Public schools can send notes home with their children. Hospitals can explain the program and help parents register their newborns before they leave the hospital. The IRS can send information to eligible income households. If the enrollment process were made simple and straightforward, and parents were made aware of the availability of these programs, instead of 9 million, there could be 3 million children in our country without health insurance. This is a big difference.