Edna Cortez, RN
Seattle, WA – November 3, 2017 – Ten years ago, child health advocates, health care providers, legislators, families and community leaders celebrated the passage of “Cover All Kids,” a landmark step toward the goal of providing health coverage for all of Washington’s children through Apple Health for Kids. Today, they gather at the New Holly Gathering Hall to celebrate 10 years of Apple Health for Kids helping children grow and stay healthy.
“When we keep kids healthy we give them an opportunity to grow and thrive,” said Speaker Frank Chopp. “Kids who have their health care needs met do better in school and are more likely to graduate. Parents miss fewer days at work and families are more financially stable when they have access to the quality, affordable health care Apple Health for All Kids provides.”
In 2007, 80,100 Washington children were uninsured, but we’ve made remarkable progress since that time, with fewer than 3% of Washington’s kids now uninsured.
“Ten years ago, our state took a giant step forward by ensuring that Washington children would be able to have health coverage that is affordable to their families,” said Janet Varon, executive director of Northwest Health Law Advocates. “Now, over 850,000 low- and moderate-income Washington children are covered through Apple Health.”
Apple Health for Kids is a solution unique to Washington State, using the federal programs Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to finance care for children in families with incomes below 300% of the federal poverty level under one umbrella program. Thanks to these programs working together, the number of kids in Washington without health insurance is the lowest in history.
“WSHA members see children and their parents in their moments of most intense need,” said Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer. “Apple Health for Kids helps children get needed preventive care to be as healthy as possible. And on those bad days that we can’t keep kids from getting sick or hurt, we can make sure they have the coverage to get the care they need.”
Apple Health for Kids has been incredibly successful at providing high-quality, cost-effective health care for millions of children. In fact, two in five Washington children are covered by Medicaid or CHIP through Apple Health for Kids, which means that nearly everyone in Washington has a family member, friend or acquaintance covered by this program.
"I am proud to live in a state that ensures all families can provide their children with well-child check-ups and other health care services they need,” said Edna Cortez, RN, a 20-year member of the Washington State Nurses Association and pediatric nurse at Seattle Children's. “As a nurse, I see young patients every day, and I know how much Apple Health for Kids has meant to our families. Before Apple Health for Kids, parents too often faced medical bankruptcy to get their children the care they desperately needed. That is a choice no parent should have to make.”
Despite the program’s success, Apple Health for Kids is at risk. CHIP funding is critical to Washington State’s ability to cover all kids, but Congress allowed the program to expire. CHIP needs to be reauthorized immediately to keep families covered. Otherwise, notices could go out to certain families as soon as December 1 warning that their kids are among 15,000 kids losing coverage on February 1.
Community leaders are urging Congress to prevent kids from losing coverage by reauthorizing CHIP before Apple Health for Kids is impacted.
“Apple Health for Kids has meant so much to children across the state. Every day community health centers see the critical role it plays in ensuring children from low-income families get the care they need to keep them healthy and able to grow and learn. Preventive care, such as well-child visits, immunizations, and dental care, is a smart investment that no child should do without,” said Shirley Prasad, director of public policy for the Community Health Network of Washington.
About the Health Coalition for Children and Youth
The Health Coalition for Children and Youth (HCCY) is a comprehensive coalition of organizations in Washington State that work to meet the health needs of kids, including medical, dental and mental health care.
Currently the Health Coalition for Children and Youth (HCCY) is supporting legislative action and investments to implement the Cover All Kids Law and provide comprehensive health coverage for every child in Washington.