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Medicaid Matters for Kids Month

It’s likely that if you’re reading this blog, you already understand the importance of Medicaid to our nation’s children. We like to toss around numbers and statistics when we talk about the program – such as the fact that more than one in three children in the United States is covered by Medicaid – but eventually numbers start to lose meaning. In June of 2011, over 27 million non-disabled children were enrolled in Medicaid. When you add in disabled children, the number of children enrolled in Medicaid is 32 million.

It’s likely that if you’re reading this blog, you already understand the importance of Medicaid to our nation’s children. We like to toss around numbers and statistics when we talk about the program – such as the fact that more than one in three children in the United States is covered by Medicaid – but eventually numbers start to lose meaning. In June of 2011, over 27 million non-disabled children were enrolled in Medicaid. When you add in disabled children, the number of children enrolled in Medicaid is 32 million.

So let’s stop talking about big numbers and start talking about small children. This month, the Children’s Hospital Association wants to introduce you to some amazing kids, all of whom have benefited from Medicaid. March is when we step away from the “big picture” and instead focus on individual kids and families, and show how Medicaid has made a huge difference in their lives. We’re calling it Medicaid Matters for Kids month, and we want you to be a part of it.

For starters, be sure to like our Speak Now For Kids Facebook page. Throughout March you can read a new story of a wonderful child who has been helped by Medicaid. Children like Justin, one of our Family Advocacy Day All-Stars, who was developmentally delayed due to hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain, and cerebral palsy. Justin’s mom had to quit her job to devote herself to taking care of her son. Fortunately, Medicaid covers Justin’s care including the specialists and therapists he sees at the Chronic Complex Clinic at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital of Tampa.

In the last two years, Justin’s health has improved drastically. His speech has progressed considerably and his vocabulary has expanded. And his walking has improved so much that after years of requiring a walker, he is learning to walk with a cane.

Justin’s mother attributes the progress that he has made to Medicaid. Without Medicaid, Justin would not have the access to the level and intensity of care provided by the specialists and therapists he sees, nor would he have made the progress that he’s made.

Justin is just one sJustintory out of 32,000,000. But he represents a much smaller population of children in Medicaid – the medically complex – who thrive when their care is coordinated and managed by a children’s hospital. Not only do the children do well, the hospital is able to reduce Medicaid costs, saving federal and state government real money.

As you read these stories throughout the month of March, please keep in mind that there are politicians in Washington who will propose drastic cuts to Medicaid. The majority of them are well-meaning legislators who are doing their best to balance the budget – certainly not an easy task – and simply do not know how many kids are covered by Medicaid, or how incredibly damaging it would be to children’s network of health providers if the program is cut. We need you to be the voice of these children. Please use our Legislative Action Center to send a message to Congress and tell them about the importance of Medicaid to our kids.

We’ll also be posting additional stories on this blog, so please keep checking back throughout March. And feel free to post a comment or share a story about a child or family you know who benefits from Medicaid. Thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf of our children.


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