Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Children Need Guaranteed Health Care

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Children Need Guaranteed Health Care

Article excerpt

Chicanery and deceptive advertising over President Bill Clinton's health-care reform plan are being used to scare people into thinking they would have rationed, government-controlled medical care. The financial interests feeding this campaign have much to win if reform loses. However, every American has much to lose if the seekers of the status quo prevail.

Why are teachers supporting the Clinton plan's principles? Simply put, if a school district can control its health-care costs, more money would be available for education. According to a recent 50-state survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the president's Health Security Act would save the state of Missouri $806 million.

But while savings would be achieved, quality and choice of health care would not be compromised. Everyone would be guaranteed a basic benefits package. Current plans would be preserved with an opportunity for more choice of options, with more security and at less cost, since cost-shifting would be eliminated.

School employees may be more aware of the health-care crisis than most. Teachers see firsthand the toll the crisis has taken on children. Students are coming to school with many treatable physical or emotional problems that often go undiagnosed or untreated because their family has inadequate or no insurance. Many don't see a doctor even once during a year. Sometimes children's only source of health care is a school nurse - and many districts are eliminating these positions.

A sick child is a poor learner.

By any indicator, the crisis in children's health care is growing more acute. The United States ranked 20th in the world in infant mortality in 1990, behind such countries as Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain. It is a tragedy that, in most states, fewer than 60 percent of schoolchildren are fully immunized. …

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