To the editor:
Health care is about to become a hot topic as the 2008 presidential race gets under way. Yet, now is the time to direct your attention as the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is being debated in Congress. SCHIP, funded through the federal government, currently provides low-income children the ability to access health care.
Children desperately need the support of a state that cares about a healthy future. As Kansans, let's step forward and show our support for the reauthorization of SCHIP. In Kansas, the SCHIP program is Healthwave 21, and it provides health care for children living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. In 2005, the number of children in Kansas that qualified for this program was over 37,000. Yet, it was found that in 2004 9 percent of the children in this state, who live in households earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line, were still uninsured. These children should qualify and be enrolled in the Healthwave 21 program.
With access to health care, children have lower rates of contracting preventable diseases, which will help them lead a more productive life. A child's health creates a foundation for the rest of his or her life, as well as the future of those around them. The reauthorization of SCHIP must happen and be funded at a level that will continue to support the children enrolled. Please show your support for the reauthorization of SCHIP. For more information, please visit www.kansashealthwave.org.
Ali Starks, Lester Big Goose and Patricia Sylvester, Lawrence