Washington, DC (NursingSalary.org) – The Federal government took another step to secure the health insurance of kids from the low-income group. Efforts paid off for the Washington state, which has been assigned $17.6 million federal bonus payment to cover around 27,000 children in the Medicaid program. The grant has come just in time because it will help rescue the 27,000 children who did not qualify for the Medicaid coverage because their parents could not produce sufficient documents proving their American citizenship.
Before the funds came through, Governor Chris Gregoire had proposed ending the program called Apple Health for Kids, which was largely a children’s health coverage program. Since the undocumented children did not qualify for Medicaid, the state spends more than $59 million per biennium on the program. The Apple Health for Kids began in 2007 and since then, the program has covered more than 700,000 children.
With the possibility of the program coming to an end and the healthcare future of thousands of children looking uncertain, the finalization of the federal government grant is in recognition of the state’s success is getting the low-income children their much needed health coverage, said the Deputy Director of the Children’s Alliance, Jon Gould.
It is not yet decided how the money will be spent because it’s unrestricted. In other words, the money can be used by lawmaker to plug gaps in other healthcare segments. However, hope lingers that a considerable sum will be used to continue the program for undocumented children.
To quote Jon Gould, “All children in the state should have health coverage, regardless of where they are born. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. Preventive health care avoids emergency visits and other costly care”.
In tune with Gould’s comment, the spokesperson for the Washington State Hospital Association, Cassie Sauer, opines that the fund money should be safeguarded in order to provide insurance cover to all children in Washington. The money should not be diversified in order to fill deficit in the budget.
Professionals in the health care sector agree almost unanimously that the Apple Health for Kids program should not be put to an end since in the last three years; it has helped protect children by providing access to preventive health care, even before there is a need for expensive ER or hospital care.
The highest grant receiver with $55 million funds was Alabama and the total amount of grants was more than $206 million.