It’s a really big weekend: the third anniversary of
CHIPRA and the Super Bowl rematch between the New England Patriots and New York
Giants. What more could a child health policy wonk and Patriots fan, want?
There is a connection between these seemingly disparate events. Thousands of
kids watching the action will be dreaming of becoming the next Tom Brady or Eli
Manning or the first female NFL Commissioner!
But too frequently, you can’t get in the game if you
aren’t covered! How often have we heard parents of uninsured children say their
kids aren’t allowed to play sports because of a lack of insurance or for fear
of an injury they can’t afford?
So one thing we can all cheer is the fact that 1 million
more children have insurance today than in 2008 when the Patriots and
Giants met in the epic Super Bowl that brought an end to the Pats’ perfect
season in an upset victory.
No doubt that CHIPRA has much to do with this winning
story – no, no, not the Pats’ loss in 2008 – the fact that 1 million more kids
are covered today. Covered despite the fact that the economy and erosion of
employer-based insurance keep moving the goalposts.
For a play-by-play description of the impact CHIPRA has had on
children’s coverage over the past three years, my colleague, Jocelyn Guyer, and
I put together this brief that celebrates the victories, both small and
large. From eligibility expansions to outreach grants to removing red tape and
paperwork barriers, CHIPRA has been gaining yardage and scoring points across
the country. In fact, each and every state has gotten in on the action, some
more than others benefitting from the options and opportunities provided by
Whether it’s the Patriots or the Giants that take home the
Vince Lombardi trophy on Sunday, every state can be a winner when it comes to
covering kids. The game plan is easy to follow. Scout out the uninsured,
practice streamlining how families apply for and renew coverage and earn
performance bonuses when your efforts get you to the playoffs.
And just think about the team we’re building for the
future. Healthy kids today means lower health care costs tomorrow. With kids, we
can spot problems early and block them from interfering with a child’s
development. We don’t have to fumble our children’s future health. CHIPRA gave
us more tools and resources, but the ball doesn’t run itself down the field.
Strategic plays and strong fans (including policymakers, state officials and
advocates alike) are the winning combination needed to score extra points and
get to the end zone!
On Super Bowl Sunday 2012, I’ll be rooting for the
Patriots. But on Monday, I’ll be back cheering on states and advocates to use
more of CHIPRA’s resources to make sure all of our kids can get in the game and
be winners in life.