Who’s pulling the strings on children’s health?

By Guest Columnist Jun 18, 2009

by Christina Chen As Congress trudges ahead with their goal of bringing healthcare reform legislation to a vote by late July, child advocacy groups are urging lawmakers to ensure that all children are afforded equal access to the healthcare services and coverage they need.    This guarantee is no more important for any group than for America’s uninsured immigrant children and children of color.  Almost half of low-income immigrant children are uninsured.  More than 60% of this nation’s uninsured children are children of color.  Barriers to coverage include parental noncitizenship, parents that lack employer-based coverage, and low family income.  Parents of immigrant children and children of color also face multiple impediments to enrollment in programs like Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), including historic distrust of the health care system, linguistic and cultural barriers in the application process, and misinformation about eligibility rules.  Although the percentage of uninsured in both groups has steadily declined since the creation SCHIP, 5-6 million children are still without coverage.  Millions of children of color and immigrant children remain underinsured, meaning that they have health insurance but face significant benefit limits that restrict their ability to access or pay for necessary services.  The Children’s Defense Fund is calling for healthcare plans that will eliminate these barriers to enrollment for immigrant children and children of color.  Check out their demands and take action to help ensure that all children get the coverage that they deserve.