A year ago, a newly elected President Barack Obama signed the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program into law, extending and offering needed funding to the popular, successful public health insurance program for children in low-income families.The reauthorization allowed North Carolina’s SCHIP program, called Health Choice, to increase enrollment by about 9,000 children this year – children who otherwise would have been uninsured. Thanks to broad support in Raleigh and across the state, Health Choice has been a huge win for North Carolina.
Health Choice helps more than 100,000 children in working families all over the state who would otherwise be uninsured get the checkups they need to stay healthy and to see doctors when they get sick
North Carolina’s health dollars are spent wisely with Health Choice, providing coverage so a boy with asthma can get a $40 inhaler rather than allowing his condition to go untreated and spending thousands of dollars on an emergency room admission for a full-blown asthma attack.
Covering children is good for our economy – helping parents to stay on the job, rather than miss work to take a sick child to the emergency room, and reducing long-term medical costs.
But 264,000 of North Carolina’s children are still uninsured. That’s enough to reach from Greensboro to Wilmington, holding hands . . . North Carolina is losing employer-sponsored health insurance faster than any other state in the nation, and many of these children’s families have lost their work-based insurance plans.
Mandy Ableidinger, director of policy and budget analysis for Action for Children North Carolina, has a great op-ed in the February 19th issue of the News and Observer. She writes: