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State programs can help Latino children
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Every Child Deserves Good Health Care. But thirty percent of Latino children are uninsured — compared to nearly 20 percent of black children, and 13 percent of whites. In 2000, there were 12.3 million Hispanic children under age 18 living in the United States, the largest such minority group in the country, according to Census Bureau data.





A survey of recent health literature by leading Latino Physicians published in the New England Journal of medicine starkly underscores the abysmal state of Latino children’s health relative to most U.S. children. According to Dr. Glenn Flores, lead author of the report, “compared with whites and blacks, Hispanic children are much more likely to have no health insurance, have no regular doctor, to have cavities, to attempt suicide if they’re a girl, to be obese if they’re a boy.”





In addition, Hispanic children are two to four times more likely to suffer from asthma accounting for 10 million lost school days annually; and on a national scale, Latinos are almost twice as likely to have elevated blood lead levels as white children are. In sum, the nation’s surging population of Hispanic children suffers a disproportionate share of diseases, deaths from accidents and injuries, disabilities and other health problems that are not being adequately treated.





Uninsured children experience reduced access to preventive and acute or chronic health care; are more likely to be hospitalized for conditions that could have been treated through primary care; less likely to be up to date with well-child care; less likely to have had all recommended immunizations; to be treated for common childhood illnesses; and to receive treatment even for a serious injury.





The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 created a new children’s health insurance program called the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This program gave each state permission to offer health insurance for children, up to age 19, who are not already insured. SCHIP is a state administered program and each state sets its own guidelines regarding eligibility and services. Families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid still may be able to qualify for SCHIP. Many families that do not currently have health insurance are likely to be eligible, even if you are working. The states have different eligibility rules, but in most states, uninsured children under the age of 19, whose families earn up to $36,200 a year (for a family of four) are eligible. For little or no cost, this insurance pays for doctor visits, hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and immunizations.





When masses of children in a country as wealthy as the United States go without access to decent and consistent health care, it is a national crisis and a national shame.





Currently, over half of all uninsured children (4.75 million) are eligible for healthcare coverage through Medicaid or SCHIP, but are not enrolled.





The Self Reliance Foundation wants to help eligible Latino Parents across the country enroll in this program, and spread the word about its availability to family, friends, and neighbors. Please call the Self Reliance Foundation’s National Helpline number 1-800-473-3003 to learn more about the State Health Insurance Program in your area, and to determine if your children are eligible to participate. Your child deserves good health, and good health care.





©2004 la Red Hispana

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