The New American Apartheid
Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which will provide four million children with health insurance. It is estimated that 47 million Americans don't have health insurance; nine million of which are children.
From Washington Post:
...Lawmakers voted 66 to 32, largely along party lines, to renew the joint state-federal program and spend an additional $32.8 billion to expand coverage to 4 million more children. The expansion would be paid for by raising the cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.
The House approved similar legislation on Jan. 14, and President Obama is expected to sign a final version as early as next week...
But according to Marian Wright-Edelman, this is not enough, and more needs to be done for all of America's children.
During a speaking engagment on health disparities this morning at Morehouse College School of Medicine, the founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund said that another five million children will still not receive health coverage.
“We want every child, regardless of where they live, to be guaranteed health care, and [sic] CHIP doesn’t do that," she said.
Wright-Edelman proposed three steps to creating comprehensive health coverage for all children.
1. Coverage Must Be Affordable
2. Benefits Must Be Comprehensive
3. The System Must Be Simple and Seamless
She also said that while many believe the Obama administration has brought in a new era in U.S. race relations, Wright-Edelman isn't convinced that America is a "post-racial" society and that "disparities begins before birth."
According to the Children's Defense Fund, "relative to white children, Latino children are 28 percent less likely, and black children are 20 percent less likely, to be in excellent health. In total, fewer than half of all black and Latino children today are in excellent health."
Wright-Edelman said that the growing racial and economic disparities go beyond health care; disparities also have an effect on education, home life and the justice system, which she calls the "New American Apartheid."
Simply quoting German philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
"The test of morality in a society is based on how they treat their children," she said.