Medical professionals and family counselors are concerned about a proposal to cut federal funding to healthcare programs for low-income families. Social worker Kelly Soyer says the administration’s plans to scale back coverage for poor families would leave man families falling between the cracks.
In Iowa it’s called HAWK-I Program, and it provides healthcare coverage for families that are at a certain percent of the federal poverty level. If they aren’t poor enough to meet Medicaid eligibility guidelines but don’t have any coverage, they can pay a premium for HAWK-I coverage to get healthcare for their children. Soyer is director of the Iowa chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and says their main task is working with people in poverty, helping them access services to get their needs met.
Soyer says one of the things social workers do is a multi-disciplinary approach to treating clients in a healthcare setting. Soyer says the Bush Administration is proposing to cut federal funding for such children’s health programs.
Right now Iowa has 55,000 children who are uninsured. "The concern is that if we don’t continue to maintain this funding on a federal level, what will happen is we will see those numbers increase." She says the problem with leaving families without health coverage is that when there’s a crisis, their only alternative will be the hospital Emergency Room, and they won’t ever get important preventive care. The federal State Children Health Insurance Program, or S-Chip, funds local programs like Iowa’s HAWK-I coverage.
Several states have called on Congress to cover shortfalls in the programs and expand funds to cover their many needy families but the White House instead proposes cutting back programs that offer coverage for adults, and not expanding the funding for children’s healthcare coverage.