Saturday, March 28, 2009

Promoting health insurance for poor children in South Carolina

South Carolina has 130,000 uninsured children. The state does run an insurance program that could cover them. So state legislators are looking at improving efforts to get the word out about the program.

From the Post and Courier writer Yvonne Wenger details the State's effort to promote the program.

"This is a message to all the parents in South Carolina: If your children do not have medical insurance coverage, we want you to know that you may qualify," said Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg.

The state Legislature has set aside money since 2007 for an estimated 70,000 children to receive coverage for checkups, hospital stays, dental care, eye exams, prescriptions and other services through the S.C. Healthy Connections Kids. So far, only 12,000 children have signed up.

Legislative budget writers are still drafting the state's spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and money for the State Children's Health Insurance Program was included in the House-passed version.

On Thursday, Sue Berkowitz, director of S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, and Frank Knapp, president of the state Small Business Chamber of Commerce, announced an effort to get 650,000 fliers in the hands of parents whose children could benefit.

Rep. David Mack, D-North Charleston, is among legislators who will be distributing fliers to local school districts as a way to get the word out.

"This is not only the morally right thing to do, it is the fiscally responsible thing to do," Mack said. If a child gets the proper preventive care, then expensive health problems can be avoided, he said.

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