When children get sick, many parents call the pediatrician, make an appointment, and bring their child in. But a minor illness, like the flu, or an ear infection can become a major worry when parents don’t have health insurance. Millions of American famil
Female Speaker: Jamie Daigle is a stay-at-home Mom who loves being with her son Seth. They enjoy the outdoors, taking walks and spending time with friends. But there is always a sense of concern because Seth doesn't have health insurance. Jamie Daigle: Seth is uninsured because I'm not working and my husband is working for a small company which doesn't offer health insurance. Female Speaker: Jamie and her son were fully insured when she gave birth to him seventeen months ago, but they lost her coverage when she decided to stay home with her baby. Jamie Daigle: My husband has a great job at a small aviation business. He's a full time mechanic, but unfortunately it is a very small company with about 20 employees so they don't offer health coverage because it's too expensive. Danny Perna: Being a small business owner at a small business with less than 25 employees it's virtually impossible for us to acquire health insurance because the way the market is right now. The insurance companies either don't want to insure us, or they charge way too much for the employer and the employee. Dr. Richard Bucciarelli: The healthcare system in the United States is primarily employer based. But families, young families with young children often work for very small employers, employers who have less than 50 people in their company. And for that group of employers, health insurance is incredibly expensive. Female Speaker: Chad, Jamie's husband, enjoys his career as an airplane mechanic and loves the company he works for, but he worries that he may have to leave if he and his family don't find coverage soon. There are over 9 million children in this country who are uninsured. But there's good news, 4 million are eligible for federally assisted programs such as Medicaid or the State Children's Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP. Dr. Richard Bucciarelli: The main reason families have to turn to Medicaid and SCHIP is that they've lost their jobs and don't have coverage for their children, or they are young families working for small employers that do not offer health insurance. Female Speaker: The Daigle's have recently applied for both state-assisted programs and are waiting to hear if they qualify. Tammy DeLuca is at ease knowing that Medicaid is there for her family. Recently she gave birth to a baby boy who was 14 weeks premature. Dr. Richard Bucciarelli: David is doing quite well. He's now over a month old and he has almost doubled his birth weight. Female Speaker: He weighed 1 pound, 14 ounces when he was born and will have to remain in the NICU until he reaches full term. Tammy Deluca: We wouldn't be able to afford what is happening right now without Medicaid. Female Speaker: The company for which Tammy's husband works does offer a health plan, but with five kids to support. Tammy Deluca: We didn't have a choice, I didn't feel like. Healthcare insurance that was offered by my husband's job was far too expensive for us to afford and we didn't have a choice. Dr. Richard Bucciarelli: SCHIP and Medicaid is really quite a good deal for the American people. It is an investment in our future. It is giving healthcare to children to keep them healthy, so they learn better and become more productive adults. Female Speaker: Unfortunately, there are many Americans who qualify for state assisted insurance programs who have not yet taken advantage of these plans and so their children remain uninsured. Dr. Richard Bucciarelli: Being uninsured is a terrible situation for a family to be in. They often don't have timely access to medical care, they get their care in emergency rooms so it's episodic, there's very poor follow-up and it's very costly to them and to society. Female Speaker: Good health care coverage does the obvious, it keeps children healthy. But it can also help children become better students, and ultimately, happier, more productive adults. It's truly an investment in their future, and one every child deserves.