DEAR ABBY: As a practicing physician, a mother, and CEO of the nation's largest health foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, I care deeply about the 45 million Americans who lack health insurance -- especially the 8.4 million uninsured children.
These kids often do not receive needed medical care for sore throats, earaches and asthma. However, many of them are eligible for programs that provide low-cost or free health-care coverage, even if their parents work and earn only modest incomes.
These programs exist in every state and the District of Columbia through Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Eligibility varies by state, but families of four earning up to $38,000 a year or more may qualify. The programs cover doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions and more.
Making sure our children have health-care coverage is an investment in their healthy future as well as our nation's. Thank you, Abby, for helping America's kids by printing this. -- RISA LAVIZZO-MOUREY, M.D., PRESIDENT AND CEO
DEAR DR. LAVIZZO-MOUREY: Thank you for the important heads-up. That a country as rich and powerful as the United States does not have a comprehensive national health program protecting all of our children is a national embarrassment.
Readers, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsors a program nationwide called "Covering Kids and Families," and encourages parents of noninsured children to call (toll-free) 877-543-7669 (877-KIDS-NOW) to find out if your children are eligible. The need is great, so please don't wait to place that call.