Wednesday, September 26, 2007

SCHIP and why it matters

From today's headlines:

The White House thinks funding insurance coverage for children is going to cost too much:

On Tuesday, the House voted 265-159 to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, by $35 billion over five years.........President Bush proposes a smaller increase in SCHIP — $5 billion over five years.

But then asks for this:

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates will ask Congress Wednesday to approve nearly $190 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, increasing initial projections by more than a third.

This is important to those of us who advocate in the field of children's cancers as cure rates are much higher for children who are diagnosed early. Uninsured and under-insured children are not going to see a doctor for a painless lump. Odds are, they won't go to a doctor's office at all. They'll wait until it's a big, flaming, painful monster causing secondary symptoms, then go to an emergency room where it's likely to be misdiagnosed. Add some more time for it to grow and fester until someone finally authorizes tests (tests that are more expensive for the uninsured than the insured). The more a child's cancer spreads, the worse that child's prognosis will be.

Early diagnosis saves lives and money. I don't care if the insurance made available is federalized, privatized or socialized, let's just get it un-politicized! Why should poor people watch as their children routinely have worse outcomes than more fortunate children? It's time to take care of our own here at home.

~ Elizabeth

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