Child safety in the USA.

Here in Colorado, the state just had to send back a millions of dollars that was given to us by the feds for health insurance for children. The program was designed to subsidize health care for uninsured children. A family of Four earning under $35k per year got free healthcare.

The problem: less than half of the eligible families signed up for it. So now they are running all kinds of TV ads to get people to accept this free insurance.

There comes a point when the problem is no longer the affordability or availability of healthcare, but the slothfulness and lack of responsibility of the populace.

So you could look at Colorado and show that there are 800,000 families without health insurance and it would look like we are a state whose government doesn’t care about the children. But what you might miss is that 600,000 of those families simply don’t want to bother to get their free or subsidized ocverage.

In my book, if you have cable tv and a cell phone, you can’t complain about not having coverage for your kids.

Yeah, damn those slothful irresponsible families who don’t have time to deal with bureaucratic mazes of red tape. It’s not like they have jobs with employers who are willing to let them have a day off to sit in some line at a public office somewhere halfway across town to apply for this insurance, after all. When you’re working at the low end of the wage scale, time off is not something you can afford to take, not if you want to keep your job.

We’ll also ignore the people who don’t have cable TV or don’t watch TV, and therefore don’t see the ads (and I bet that Colorado made no serious effort to advertise the program before the feds came down on them) or who don’t speak English (I bet most of the advertising, what there was of it, was in English).

BTW, Mr.Z, cable TV can be had for under $10 a month in some areas and a cell phone for under $20 (Cingular has a Chicagoland area service contract, 50 free minutes a month, for $19.95/month). Kindly show me a reasonable health insurance policy for a family of four with $30/month premiums.

Um, so, not only does the gov’t have to offer free insurance, and state sponsored medical faciliies, they have to…well, to what? Compensate them for the time that it takes to apply for it? Come to their house and make them fill out a few forms? Fill them out for them so that they aren’t bothered by the nuisance of paperwork.

Hell, give me free coverage and I’ll take all of next week off to put it in place. And if my kids’s health depends on it, I will do damn near anything.
Cable here is a minimum $50 and then $20 for a cell, bare minimum. So is the thinking here that if you don’t have the whole $200 a month for the kid’s healthcare, you might as well blow what you do have on something else?

Let’s see $70/month x 12 months = $840. I would rather have $840 in my pocket if my child were sick than a cell phone.

You can get care without health insurance, you know. Like most other services in the world, you have to pay for it. IF you can’t pay for it, you can get it for free. But you may have to go to the dreadful extreme of actually applying for it. A lot to do for your children’s health, what with picking up the pen, taking a day off, or maybe even having to go find an envelope.

If you’re working as, say, a waitress in a restaurant and take all week off to apply for health coverage for your kids, you might as well cap off that week for looking for a new job, or applying for welfare while you’re at it. Very few low-wage employers will tolerate an employee taking a week off for any reason.

You have damned expensive cable, then. I was paying just over $50/month for cable when I had expanded basic + basic digital + two premium channels. Basic cable in my area is about $12 a month.

See previous discussion regarding quality of care afforded to uninsured patients. Many hospitals these days will not provide care to noncritical patients who are not insured. Period. They don’t care if you swear up, down, left, and right that you can afford to self-pay (unless you’re someone famously rich, of course). No insurance, no service. Please avoid bleeding on the sidewalk on the way out.

What the government can do is make their offices open at times and places where the people who are applying for the benefits can go to them. They could allow application by mail (at least in part) so as to expedite the process. They could, yes indeed, make home visits. Why is this so hard to deal with?

It is not that I have a hard time with the concept of the free care, though I think that the healthcare “crisis” is largely overblown and mischaracterized.

What I have a problem with is that they are offering FREE coverage, and these folks can’t even be bothered with getting coverage. There are 800 numbers, newspaper ads, radio adds, and still people wont get covereage for their kids.

OK, so they don’t like their kids. THat I can also deal with. What I perceive you to be saying, Kellym is that government somehow has to track these folks down and make sure that they get what is already free. I just think that there should be some modicum of responsibility on the part of those getting free goods at the cost of my own ability to pay for similar goods.

I also have a problem with statements to teh effect that there is a healthcare crisis for children when there are thousands of people in Colorado alone who simply wont be bothered to apply for it. Perhaps the problem is not too little insurance, but too many irresponsible oafs who don’t deserve kids.

You can have it good, or you can have it easy, or you can have it free, but you can’t have it good, easy and free.

I agree that many parents are simply jerks. Others aren’t jerks but have more difficulty protecting their kids than others.

Picture this scenario: you’re a single parent, struggling to support yourself and a few kids. You don’t have much education, so you don’t have a cushy 8 to 5 job. Maybe you wait tables at irregular hours; maybe you work nights. You probably don’t have access to quality daycare and even if you could afford it, most daycares don’t accomodate parents who work odd hours. You can’t afford to live in a nice house in a good neighborhood; chances are, your house or apartment is a little less than safe.

Because of your crazy work schedule, sometimes you crash on the couch for a couple of hours for a nap. Maybe, because you don’t have access to daycare when you need it, you sometimes leave your small kids in the care of a slightly older one. Maybe you just leave the kids to their own devices for a little while, reasoning that you’re right there on the couch in the same room with them, and you’re too tired to stay awake.

It only takes a moment for a little kid to wander out the front door and get struck by a car, or drown in the toilet, or fall off the balcony, or tip over your old space heater. Children are geniuses at finding new and creative ways to kill themselves; it’s amazing that any of us lived to adulthood. The more kids you have, the higher the chances somebody will get into serious trouble. The fewer social and economic resources you have, the more likely your kids will be inadequately supervised.

I don’t know if there is a strong correlation between child safety and income. Poorer families may tend to stay in their home town and be closer to relatives that can help. Affluent proffessionals may be in towns with no support groups. THey might also work 90 hours a week at their executive position feeling that it is OK to leave the kids in the care of an au pair or older sibling.

I was only talking about the lack of healthcare. IT is not merely a matter of a poor healthcare system.