Due to drastic state cuts, the Department of Social and Health Services has decided to end subsidized health insurance coverage for 27,000 children from Apple Health for Kids. Yes, times are tough for Washington families, but Apple Health for Kids has been doing what it is meant to do: protecting our children in difficult economic times.
Washington state has been a leader in the effort to provide all children with health care. Our legislators have shown great leadership in fighting to make sure families would have an insurance option for their children when they really needed it. We must not falter now.
Washington state must not turn away from the policies that have made health care coverage for children one of the best in the nation. Apple Health for Kids has been a lifeline for many families facing difficult economic times. With so many parents struggling to make ends meet, Apple Health for Kids ensures that children will not lose health coverage if jobs or employment benefits are lost.
Lost health care for many of these children will result in a further loss of educational opportunity. Simply stated, sick children don’t learn. These situations are problems for all of society, not just those most directly affected.
Let’s remember that for every dollar spent on children’s health care, $16 are saved. In the long run, Apple Health is not only about health care coverage, but also about raising healthier citizens and a better community.
(Harrison worked in the Peninsula School District Early Childhood Program. Biggs works for Children’s Home Society.)