Friday, June 26, 2009

Covering All Kids Important During Tough Budget

For Immediate Release - Members of media can contact policy@pathwayspa.org for further information or to conduct interviews


Covering All Kids Important During Tough Budget
Governor Rendell, PathWays PA Client Among June 24 Press Conference Speakers

For PathWays PA client Zee Hurst and thousands of other Pennsylvanians, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provided important access to healthcare at a time when no other options were available. That is why she joined Governor Ed Rendell along with local pediatricians, child psychologists and other parents to speak at the Loving Care Children’s Learning Center on June 24.

During the past three years, CHIP has provided comprehensive health insurance coverage for thousands of children throughout Pennsylvania who would not have been eligible without the Cover All Kids program. However, current budget proposals rescind this CHIP provision, which could result in up to 12,000 kids being cut from the program.

Ms. Hurst’s story of CHIP brought real meaning to those numbers when she described her children’s healthcare needs after she was laid off from an insurance company. “Even with my knowledge of the healthcare system, I could not find affordable coverage for my children,” she said. “Both of my children suffer from asthma, and without CHIP, they would have to go without the nebulizers and treatments they need to be healthy.”

CHIP did more than provide physical health coverage: it gave Ms. Hurst’s son the opportunity to obtain counseling after his father died. “My son was a great student until his father passed, and then he began getting into trouble at school,” she said. “Once he got coverage from CHIP, we were able to help him get counseling, and his grades have improved ever since.”

Throughout the press conference, each story shared led to the same realization: healthy children today lead to healthy adults tomorrow. PathWays PA, a non-profit organization that advocates and provides services for women children and families, sees how important CHIP is every day when clients come to the office seeking assistance and guidance. “Not only does health insurance for children make emotional sense, it also makes financial sense,” said Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA. “A recent report from Rice University puts the cost of health insurance through age 18 at $7,451, while the benefits equate to as much at $15,000.”

Even during an economic crisis, it is important to pay attention to the long-term effects of short-term cuts. The Cover All Kids program remains among the services that are vital to families in Pennsylvania.

PathWays PA began in 1978 as the Women's Association for Women's Alternatives, one of Pennsylvania's first residential programs to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children. It has grown to become one of the Greater Philadelphia region's foremost providers of residential and community-based services with a focus on serving women, teens and children. Each year PathWays PA serves over 6,000 clients with a full complement of social services; job training and employment assistance; as well as residential programs.

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