All Delaware children should have access to medical care
The Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice supports HB317, the Cover All Kids Act.
This legislation is necessary to provide medical care to all children in Delaware who qualify based on income for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, but are otherwise not eligible to participate in those programs. The lack of access to medical care for these children heavily impacts the Latinx and Hispanic communities, but there are also Black undocumented immigrants, as well as other undocumented children of color.
There are many reasons why this bill should pass: Humanitarian reasons, economic reasons, equity reasons.
Hubert Humphrey noted that the moral measure of society is how we treat those in the dawn of their lives and those in the shadows and margins of society. This applies to children living in Delaware who lack access to medical care. No matter what our feelings are concerning immigration, no child should be penalized for the actions of his or her parents, who came to this country to seek a better life for their families. Morally, we cannot stand by and let children suffer for lack of access to medical care. What kind of society are we if we let them live lives of pain and suffering, enduring treatable diseases, or diseases for which palliative care is available?
Further, undocumented children don’t live in silos with other undocumented people. They live with other family members with varying legal statuses. Some family members may be here legally with green cards. They may have siblings who were born in this country that have access to medical care. There is a huge equity issue when members of the same family have different access to medical care.
If the moral issue isn’t impressive, there is an economic cost to the way we deliver healthcare. The current system of not allowing children access to medical care is inefficient, leading to emergency room treatment and hospital charity care that could be avoided by access to less expensive preventative care. Further, during a pandemic, it is essential to the public’s health that children remain healthy and obtain all necessary immunizations. They are much more likely to have routine care and immunizations if they have health coverage at home. There is also an academic cost to sick children. Gaps in their education due to illness and inability to attend or keep up with classwork continue the cycle of low income and poverty as adults.
A rising tide lifts all boats. When we remove barriers to medical care for our state’s children, we all benefit as a state, financially, academically and morally.