Poverty is everywhere. It is not just abroad but here in our country too. There are children that do not have enough to eat and women who give what there is to their kids but do not eat themselves. There are pregnant women that do not go for their prenatal visits because they do not have health insurance and cannot afford to pay out of pocket. Decisions are being made everyday on what bills can be put off; what necessity is really a luxury item; how to afford gas for the car; how to make a birthday special without costing a lot of money. Making ends meet is getting more and more difficult.
People are worrying about the economy and its impact on the future. Times are tough. But they are tougher and scarier for some people more than others. Pregnant women and children are among those.
1 in 5 young women and 1 in 9 children do not have health insurance. That means no doctor visits unless it is dire; no medicine for the little one screaming with an earache; maybe trying folk remedies or herbal medicines which may not be safe; taking over-the-counter medicine that may not be right and hoping for the best, waiting until it’s too late to get to the hospital.
Yes, there are some programs for children like the State Children’s Health Insurance Programs and Medicaid, but getting insurance coverage for a pregnant woman is hard. Many families are above the financial threshold yet cannot afford the monthly insurance premium. Some states offer programs such as New York’s Prenatal Care Assistance Program or San Diego County’s Perinatal Care Network. If you or someone you love is struggling with getting health insurance, check with your local health department, WIC clinic or Medicaid Office. There are also discount programs available such as Ameriplan or Maternity Advantage.
Having to choose between buying food, paying rent, going for a prenatal visit, or taking the baby to the doctor for her 6th month checkup is heart-wrenching. The stress has to be overwhelming. And that in itself is bad for pregnant women.