Letters to the Editor

Kids' healthcare gets help

Washington’s congressional delegation deserves a thunderous round of applause. Its unwavering bipartisan support and consistent leadership on child health has resulted in additional federal funds for child health coverage in our state. Their hard work this year in “the other Washington” has brought our Washington an additional $200 million in Medicaid funds and as much as $41 million in additional federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funding over the coming two years.

Our congressional delegates realize the value of early and preventive healthcare for children. These additional federal funds are critical to protecting the health of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, especially as the state struggles to balance many competing economic priorities.

Continuous health coverage is essential in order for our children to receive regular doctor visits and preventative care, including childhood immunizations. Preventative care assures healthier children and wise use of limited state dollars, averting more serious and expensive care in emergency rooms and hospitals.

Our own state data clearly shows that health coverage keeps kids out of the hospital. And, while overall healthcare costs are on the rise, the cost of insuring children is very low and has remained stable for several years.

We thank the congressional delegation for providing our state with the additional funding to protect child health.

Governor Gary Locke, in the Priorities of Government analysis and his biennial budget proposal, placed high value on maintaining healthcare coverage for children. Our state Legislature has proposed cutting tens of thousands of children from health coverage. With additional federal SCHIP funds, many of these children can now be protected.

The tireless work of our Washington delegation in ensuring additional federal funds for children’s healthcare is a victory not only for our delegation, but more importantly, for our kids.

Barry Lawson, M.D.

President, Washington chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Linda Stone

Interim executive director, Children’s Alliance

Richard Molteni, M.D.

Vice President and medical director, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center

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