By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Child advocates are set to release a report Tuesday morning showing that thousands of children in Pennsylvania are without health insurance, despite the state’s promise to Cover All Kids through the CHIP program: The uninsured are the children of undocumented immigrants. The report launches an effort to get them covered.
Public Citizens for Children and Youth surveyed 53 local undocumented families and health policy director Colleen McCauley says they found ineligibility for subsidized insurance creates a barrier to good health.
“Eighty-five percent of the parents we talked to said their children had to delay care,” she says, “or didn’t get any care at all for a medical concern.”
Tony is one of those parents. He says it troubles him.
“When (my daughter) is sick, we have to think about it too many times before we go to the doctor,” he says.
It also troubles the doctors who see the kids, like dentist Abby Peterson.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking to think these kids are being denied access to care, and it makes sense financially,” says Peterson. “It’s so much less expensive to take care of problems when their small.”
Peterson is among those who support the “Dream Health” effort to get the state to cover undocumented children through its CHIP program. 27 groups have signed on but opponents of the move make it clear they face an uphill battle.