Let's get those lifesavers out of storage!
"I never thought I would find myself in need of this program. But, I have. With my husband not working and health care benefits skyrocketing, I just can't pay for it anymore. I have applied for healthy kids insurance and I pray that my kids get the coverage. Paying $500 per month just for their coverage is no longer possible for our family. This care is so important for our children."
A refreshing moment of sanity and bi-partisan action prevailed in Washington, D.C. last month when Congress and President Obama enacted legislation that gives states additional money to provide children with healthcare coverage through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It's a huge victory for kids and a testimony to the power of every day moms and dads to get Congress moving on issues that are crucial to families.
This critical lifesaver for families is coming not a minute too soon. Each week, hundreds of thousands of parents are losing their jobs and employer-sponsored healthcare coverage, and so are their children. Now, more than ever, families need this support.
We have much to celebrate in the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and economic recovery program. But our work is not done -- it's now up to legislators in each state to take advantage of all possible federal money to provide health coverage for kids. The federal government has provided the life preservers for our kids but they won't do us any good tucked away in storage! It's up to our state legislators to throw these lifesavers to our kids.
Now, you'd think it'd be a slam dunk...the money is available, and what legislator doesn't want more money for their state? But there may not be any slamming or dunking. California, for example, demonstrates the challenges our states face in making this promise of children's health coverage a reality. Right now, California's state healthcare program, Healthy Families, is bursting at the seams with 30,000 children enrolling every month. Yet, due to record budget deficits, the state is considering cutting essential social services and not making long-term investments such as health care coverage for kids.
We must demand that our state leaders do their part to put our kids first. If you live in California, join MomsRising.org's campaign [http://www.momsrising.org/lifesaver_messages] to send sweet and tart personalized messages to California legislators that healthcare for kids is a lifesaver for families. We're delivering these messages and real candy lifesavers to each and every state legislator. To participate, all you need to do is sign on to our message, "Healthcare coverage for kids is a lifesaver for families! Do your part to ensure healthcare coverage for all kids."
The federal government has given our states an opportunity to cover uninsured kids and bring badly-needed federal funds into our states. Now, we must make sure that our state leaders take advantage of this opportunity to move kids' health care forward.
A Peaceful Revolution is a blog about innovative ideas to strengthen America's families through public policies, business practices, and cultural change. Done in collaboration with MomsRising.org, read a new post here each week.