Monday, September 24, 2007

Importance of health insurance

Last year was the attack of the kidney stone and I realized how quickly you can go from feeling great to feeling horrible. Just seconds.

Earlier this summer I was afflicted with "the gout." It too is painful and debilitating.

Having great health insurance is a real blessing and allows me to get the treatment and medications I need to ease pain and to heal.

But there are lots of children who do not have the blessing of health insurance and will not be covered under any state or federal programs.

Overall, 47 million people lacked health insurance last year, up from 44.8 million in 2005. The percentage of the U.S. population lacking health insurance last year rose to 15.8 percent, the highest level since 1998.

We are facing the fact that a number of families currently receiving health insurance for their children through their state's Children's Health Insurance Programs - children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase private insurance, are about to be denied their insurance.

New federal guidelines require states to demonstrate a 95 percent enrollment of children whose families earn under 200 percent ($41,300 for a family of four) of the poverty line before enrolling families above 250 percent.

The scandal of uninsured children (9 million nationwide) is such that even families earning above 250 percent cannot afford private health insurance. These new federal guidelines will push those children onto the rolls of the uninsured.

These regulations should not stand and the President should not veto the bill about to be put before him this week. This is a real crisis.

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