William Vaughan, Senior Policy Analyst
September 28, 2006
Campaign for Children’s Healthcare
The release of today’s report, “No Shelter from the Storm: America’s Uninsured Children,” should re-dedicate us all to the cause of ending the national disgrace of children’s health neglect.
Consumers Union is the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports. Most of our readers—and their children—have health insurance. But this is an issue for us, because the future health of our nation depends on the health of our children. And this report shows that the more than nine million uninsured children have poorer healthcare and health outcomes than insured children. This means that America’s future potential will be stunted by our failure to solve this problem—our future growth and prosperity is curbed by the moral failure to deal with today’s problem of the uninsured.
The study is particularly useful for showing that 68 percent of our uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) but not enrolled. In the Medicare prescription drug bill, Congress dealt with the problem of enrolling low income subsidy eligible seniors and people with disabilities by the automatic assignment of over 6 million individuals to prescription drug plans. Why cannot Congress, using IRS and other data matches, simply assign uninsured eligible children to a State Medicaid or SCHIP program and offer parents a chance to opt out, if they so wish? Congress had the will to transition Medicare-Medicaid seniors to the new drug plan. Surely there can be the will in the 110th Congress to find a way to make enrollment easy for six million of our uninsured children.