Profile of Health Care for Children: 60% of uninsured kids eligible for coverage
"There you are, you have a sick kid and you have to spend your rent money." Aleta Taal, Oregon City
Aleta Taal and her son Ryan, of Oregon City are two of the 613,000 uninsured Oregonians. Aleta knows the struggles parents of uninsured children face. A new policy brief by the Oregon Office of Health Policy and Research reveals an estimated 66,653 children in Oregon who are eligible for public coverage remain uninsured, that is over 60% of uninsured children.
The long-term consequences for uninsured children can be dramatic. The policy brief reports children with insurance experience a 25% improvement in health and a 68% improvement in "paying attention in class" and "keeping up with school activities".
According to the policy brief, Oregon has the discretion, as all states do, to utilize a combination of common-sense approaches and previously tested strategies to increase the number of children inOregon with health care coverage. Some strategies include:
* Eliminating waiting periods. In Oregon, children and adults must be uninsured for six months before being eligible for SCHIP and FHIAP. Nineteen states do not require a period of uninsurance prior to SCHIP enrollment.
* Eliminate Assets Test. Oregon is also one of only six states that still require an asset test to enroll a child in Medicaid or SCHIP.
* Lengthen Renewal. Forty states allow children's coverage for Medicaid and SCHIP to be renewed annually instead of every six months.
Ultimately, research shows that the most effective strategy to insure more children is to insure their parents. HB 2048 would restore the 10-cent tobacco tax, increasing funding available for health care by $70 million (including $42 million in federal matching funds) An additional 16,000 Oregonians could be on OHP Standard with these funds.