Let's Protect Our Children's Health Insurance

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Good nutrition is important part of being healthy, but as every parent knows, their child also needs access to medications, get regular checkups and be hospitalized when ill. However, going to the doctor is not cheap and when faced with a medical emergency, the costs are overwhelming to the average Korean American family.

Every day, the Korean Resource Center sees and hears from Korean American families who are in desperate need for healthcare. Oftentimes, the only affordable option for these hard-working parents to care for their children is through the Healthy Families Program.

In 2007, the health of 6.6 million children across the nation was at stake as Congress voted on the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which funds the Healthy Families Program in California. After months of debate, negotiation and compromise, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress passed with wide bipartisan support, SCHIP legislation that would expand coverage and extend the program for 5 years. Regrettably, President Bush vetoed SCHIP twice.

Threatened by possible disenrollment of millions of children across the state, a temporary measure was passed on December 29, 2007. The temporary measure will merely sustain the program at the current levels of enrollment, but will not increase the number of families that would be eligible to apply for Healthy Families Program. As living costs rise, more and more families find themselves unable to afford health insurance coverage for their children, and the health and well-being of the youngest and most vulnerable Americans are being compromised.

Just as both Democrats and Republicans have embraced the compromise bill to expand SCHIP coverage, the Korean American community also needs to come together to ensure that all children have a chance to lead healthy lives. Around January 23, 2008, the House will vote to override President Bush's veto. The House has a choice to either stand with the millions of children who will be forced to go without health insurance or stand with an administration that would rather invest 200 billion dollars in the war with Iraq.

The Korean American community needs to create a united and strong voice to send a message to our country's leaders. With the start of the new year, we have been wishing each other a happy and healthy new year. This traditional greeting has more meaning this year as we join together for a long-term SCHIP legislation in 2008 that ensures healthy lives for all children. As stakeholders and for our children, we cannot afford anything less. Please call the Korean Resource Center at 323-937-3718 and become part of Parents for America's Children.

Caroline Lee

Posted on 01/16/2008 - 9:02pm