The Center for Public Policy Priorities found that 1.2 million Texas children have no private or public health insurance. The study also showed that almost 40 percent of Texas mothers received little or no prenatal care and approximately 15 percent of the babies were born prematurely. Many of these babies will be admitted to neonatal intensive care units.
Obviously, employment rate and the parent’s economic condition played a significant role regarding the healthcare for these children. Twenty-five percent of Texas children live in poverty, which is above the national average. Texas ranks 41st in the nation in the number of uninsured children even though we have an unemployment rate lower than the national average.
Many of the Texas children receive primary care treatment in the emergency departments of hospitals which is not the best setting for primary care. Children with chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes receive the best treatment utilizing a primary care provider with a routine, scheduled treatment plan rather than emergency department visits.
This is a difficult issue as socioeconomic status, lack of primary care providers, uninsured and underinsured parents coupled with some of the most vulnerable little folks in our society create a very complex problem. Agreed, it is very difficult and challenging, but we must address this issue now because compassion for children cannot be ignored.
More than one million innocent children represent a significant portion of the population and are an integral part of the future of Texas. Stakeholders, providers, government officials, private citizens, religious organizations, community leaders and parents need to own this problem and work collaboratively to solve this severe public health crisis.
Let’s listen to our children and give them a chance to live robust and healthy lives.