Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

WA leads the way on kids' health--will the other WA follow?

Carolynm 07/21/09

Sarah and Vicky
Our very own Sarah McIntyre made the New York Times this Sunday, as the poster child for states that have been leading the way toward health coverage for all children, despite the recession.

Sarah’s parents, Vicky and Dewayne, also earned a mention in the first sentence of a Seattle Times editorial praising Washington’s decision to push forward with coverage for children in these tough times.

As the New York Times article noted, Sarah received coverage in March, thanks to the extension of Apple Health to children in families earning up to 300 percent of the poverty level. That rollout was made possible by the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program legislation signed into law by President Obama in February as one of his first acts in office. The law gives Washington millions of dollars in extra money to cover children.

What the Times left out, though, was that Sarah can also thank her mom, Vicky, for the coverage. Vicky McIntyre testified before Washington’s legislature to the need for coverage for children in families like hers, and her advocacy played a crucial role in convincing legislators to follow through on the promised rollout of children’s health coverage in spite of the state’s budget crisis. (That’s one reason we gave Vicky a Voices for Children award this year.)

The Times also didn’t mention that health care for children currently hangs in the balance of health care reform. While health care reform is crucial for the well-being of families across the country, it must be done in a way that ensures children in leading states such as Washington will be able to continue receiving comprehensive and affordable coverage.

Health reform legislation has to be passed out of five committees in the House—it has gotten out of three so far—and is currently in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Amendments could improve the legislation’s effects on children—or worsen them (First Focus has information on a couple good amendments by Rep. Scott, and Voices for America's Children has information on good amendments by Reps. McNerney, DeGette, and Rush).

One of the most up-to-date blogs about health reform and kids is Say Ahhh! from the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown.