The number of uninsured Iowa kids who’re signed up for government-paid health care has jumped by 26-thousand in the past two-and-a-half years. The government insurance is offered through two programs: traditional Medicaid or the “HAWK-I” program which is for poor parents who don’t quite qualify for Medicaid, but can’t swing the cost of insurance for their kids. Twenty-four-year-old JeRa Griffith of Des Moines says her five-year-old son has asthma, and she wouldn’t be able to afford his meds on her own. She says it was scary when he went into an asthma attack. Twenty-six-year-old Shawn Carter of Ames has the coverage for both his son and a nephew. Carter has a new job, but the health benefits for his kids don’t kick in for 90 days. Carter says without the government-paid health care, his kids would suffer.Governor Tom Vilsack says the state made it easier for poor Iowa parents to get health care for their kids by dumping a 19-page application form, and making the form just two-pages long.Vilsack says a recent University of Iowa survey found getting kids covered by health insurance helps in a number of areas.The survey finds the kids are making fewer visits to the emergency room and have better school attendance records because they’re healthier. In addition, 95 percent of the parents surveyed said they were less stressed because their kids were covered by insurance.
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