Back to School Template Opinion Editorial PUTTING HELP FOR UNINSURED KIDS ON THE BACK TO SCHOOL CHECKLIST The start of a new school year might be weeks away but stores in our area are already fi by gigi12

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									Back-to-School Template Opinion-Editorial

PUTTING HELP FOR UNINSURED KIDS ON THE
BACK-TO-SCHOOL CHECKLIST
The start of a new school year might be weeks away, but stores in our area are already filling the aisles
with must-have lunch boxes and enough loose-leaf paper to spread to the moon. Store managers and
stockers aren’t the only ones preparing for the new school year. Many parents are making checklists to be
sure their child will head off to school ready to learn and thrive.

One thing that probably won’t appear on many checklists is health insurance, but it should be at the top of
every parent’s list. Unfortunately, too many children in our community will head back to school this year
without the advantage of health care coverage. Because they are uninsured, they are therefore unable to
access the care they need.

Nationwide more than 9 million children have no health insurance. That’s more than the total number of
kids enrolled in the first and second grades in U.S. public schools. Because they are uninsured, their
parents are forced to gamble every day that their child won’t get sick or injured. In fact, uninsured
children are twice as likely as insured children to miss out on needed care, including doctor visits and
check ups.

(Insert paragraph about your connection to the issue, including a personal story if possible. Are you a
parent, an educator, a community leader or just a concerned citizen that sees a problem that needs to be
address? Discuss the situation in your community and how children are being affected).

Fortunately, for the past 11 years, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – commonly
known as [PROGRAM NAME] in [STATE] – has provided a safety net for many hard-working families
who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private coverage. The
program successfully covers more than 7 million children who otherwise would be uninsured. Because of
SCHIP, millions of kids can get regular check ups, take the medications they need and see a doctor when
they are sick.

Unfortunately, many parents of eligible children either don’t know about the program or mistakenly think
they make too much money to qualify. Children in families of four earning up to $42,000 a year – or more
– may qualify for low-cost or free health coverage

As parents of uninsured kids get ready for the new school year, they should put calling 1(877) KIDS-
NOW at the top of their back-to-school checklist. Operators can assist parents in finding out if their kids
are eligible and in getting children enrolled. Low-cost or free health care coverage could be just a phone
call away.

All of us likely know a parent of an uninsured child. It might be our children or grandchildren, or the kids
of people who provide services to us every day – cutting hair, caring for lawns, waiting on tables, serving
as aides to elderly parents. All of us can help spread the word about these valuable insurance programs to
the people who most need the information.
Raising awareness of the program is a part of this month’s Cover the Uninsured Back-to-School
Campaign which focuses on enrolling eligible kids in Medicaid and SCHIP. Cover the Uninsured is the
largest mobilization in history to shine a national spotlight on the need to secure health coverage for all
Americans. Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this nonpartisan effort unites people from all
walks of life and every point of view.

It seems to me that cool notebooks and fun lunch boxes are worthless if a child can’t see the blackboard
or focus on schoolwork because they are sick and missing needed care. Let’s do our part to make it a
great school year for every child.

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