As someone said recently, our children are only 21 percent of the state's population, but they're 100 percent of our future.
Stand up for 'em now.
Editorial from this week's Carrboro Citizen:
Denial of service
You would think that here in the tenth largest state in the wealthiest country ever that cutting back on children’s’ health care to save money would be off the table.
Think again. Then count to ten, because it isn’t.
In fact, it’s one of the ways to “balance” the budget that our legislators are considering.
Evidently healthy children are not as big a priority as we all thought; and for some, making good on the promise that began a decade ago to cover at least our poorest children is, well, a nice-to-have and not a need-to-have.
But ignoring the perfect storm of uninsured children, rapidly increasing rates of childhood obesity and soaring health care costs is setting this state up for a future saddled by this era’s misplaced priorities.
Preventive care – the kind that people with insurance are more likely to enjoy than those without – is the secret to catching, treating and preventing illnesses. And early contact with health professionals can help establish diet, exercise and wellness behaviors that will pay off over a lifetime for individuals and for the rest of us.
That was the logic behind setting up the state’s Health Choice for Children program in the first place. Now the effort to more fully fund that woefully under-funded program is on the chopping block.
No one – especially not dedicated public servants or the high-minded captains of industry who’ve sent their lobbyists to Jones Street to win a tax break or two – would like to think of themselves as the kind who would take medicine out of the mouths of infants or deny a sick toddler access to a doctor. But that’s the result, and everyone of those voting yea or nay on the budget in the weeks ahead knows that.
Most of those who would take the hit on this issue are either too young to know it or haven’t even been born yet. They can neither vote nor offer up a campaign contribution to get their legislator’s attention.
That leaves the rest of us to stand against this madness.
Someday, most of the generation we are short-changing will grow up. We hope it will be in a state where sacrificing the health of children is not something on the table during budget talks.
But that generation will have every right to ask each of us what we did when it was.