Cheaper gas or healthy kids? | Editorial | Indy Week
Pin It

Cheaper gas or healthy kids? 

Maybe it makes sense to you here, in this time of economic recovery, for folks to get a little relief in filling their tanks. Or maybe it makes more sense to give the corporations and the wealthier among us a break and let 'em keep more of what conservative pundits and talk-show hosts like to call their "hard-earned money." Perhaps there's a program or two or an under-funded initiative, like North Carolina's foundering mental health reform we're supposedly in the middle of, that could use the kind of jolt that money would give.

There are a lot of solid places where that money can do some good.

But any money manager worth their salt will tell you that the best thing to do with a little extra cash is to put it to work--invest it in something that will pay off down the road.

Several other states that have recently found themselves in North Carolina's position have done just that and created a win-win that makes social, political and moral sense. The solution is not as sexy as a gas rebate or as pork-a-rific as funding a slew of teapot museums. It's rather simple, really--make sure every child in this state grows up with decent medical care.

Every legislature in the country knows why and how to create universal access for children. The feds, back when they cared about this sort of thing, even came up with incentives and some underwriting to help. Maine passed a plan to cover all the uninsured under 18 in 2003, and bills recently passed or in the works in Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont and Florida have either done that much or more. But most states are like North Carolina, with a plan in place and not enough money in it to make it work.

There are now almost 300,000 uninsured children in this state. Most of them are eligible for either Medicaid or the state's Children's Health Insurance Program, but due to lack of money, education and outreach they cannot be signed up. That's 300,000 children who aren't getting the kind of immunizations, checkups and pediatric care that will help them grow into healthy, productive adults. That's 300,000 kids who are getting their health care via the emergency room or--too often--not at all. That's 300,000 children we're letting down while we sit on a fat wallet wondering what to do.

  • If you were sitting in the legislature today, what would you do with a couple of billion dollars?


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Editorial

Twitter Activity


Fresh ideas are essential to progressive journalism - Bravo to the new team - it feels like the old Indy …

by Bonnie Hauser on A Brief Note on the Indy's Recent Personnel Changes (Editorial)

Good luck to Skillet and Grayson! I've enjoyed their work for years and will miss them in these pages. …

by john i on A Brief Note on the Indy's Recent Personnel Changes (Editorial)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation