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Call for Congress to Help Iowa's Uninsured Kids

January 15, 2007


The state of Iowa is one of the few that provides children in low-income families free or reduced-priced health insurance through the Hawk-I program and Medicaid, but there are still an estimated 63,000 who remain uninsured. The Children's Defense Fund is releasing a plan this week calling on Congress to expand Medicaid to include all kids of working families. The plan also includes a simpler application process. Mary O'Brian with the Visiting Nurse program has seen firsthand the painful results of children without access to health care.

"It's just heart-breaking to see a young child open their mouth to reveal just total dental decay."

O'Brian explains only the poorest of the poor qualify for health coverage provided by Medicaid.

"We're talking for a family of three making $5,000 some dollars a year. That's it!"

O'Brian says covering children should be a national priority, and she says the public may be ready to accept the idea because even the middle-class is being squeezed by the price of health care.

The report is online at: www.childrensdefense.org.

Families wishing information about the state's Hawk-I insurance program can call 1-800-257-8563.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA