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A Call for Feds to Help 100,000 Uninsured Wisconsin Kids

January 12, 2007


There are over 100,000 uninsured Wisconsin kids, most of them from working families, and a national children's group is calling on Congress to fill the gap. The Children's Defense Fund released a plan this week calling for expanded Medicaid eligibility for kids in working families and a simpler enrollment process. Bobby Peterson with Wisconsin-based ABC for Health says covering kids should be a top national priority.

"The proposal from the Children's Defense Fund is a wise one, because it's trying to create a baseline of coverage for all kids, simplifying the process for them to enroll, and we're all gonna be better off in the long run by making sure that all our kids are covered and insured."

Peterson adds another problem is that parents of uninsured kids often delay needed medical treatment.

"That's a consequence that could be much more expensive, and in some situations lead to life-long problems."

Linda Reivitz at the UW-Madison School of Nursing has also seen uninsured kids often go without needed treatment. She explains that when they do get treated, it's at expensive emergency rooms instead of more cost-effective options.

"If there is insurance, there's more likelihood the kids will see a doctor and they will miss less school. There's research that shows they're simply more healthy because they get their immunizations and so forth."

Here in Wisconsin, Governor Doyle has called for a BadgerCare Plus system, which would use federal funds to help provide coverage for all uninsured children in the state.

The report is online at www.childrensdefense.org.

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WI