(Columbia) – As lawmakers continue their debate on whether or not to fund voter-approved Medicaid expansion in Missouri, pediatricians say a lack of access to quality health care can lead to long-lasting consequences for children.
If a child doesn’t have health insurance at a young age, said Dr. Kristin Sohl, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Missouri, they may not have a primary care provider who tracks developmental milestones – walking, talking, eating, growing – and it may be harder to get them later. on the right track if they missed or skipped steps.
“As a pediatrician, the sooner we can identify the things that affect growth and development and really start guiding and supporting that child and that family, the better,” she said, “so there are definitely a lot of things riding access.”
Sohl said preventive care for Missouri’s tens of thousands of uninsured children – many in rural or underprivileged communities – would make a big difference to the state’s health care system.
Sohl adds that when health problems go untreated – from nutrition to asthma to developmental disabilities – the associated costs increase. She says appropriate interventions at the right stages can improve outcomes as children mature.
“If it has been years since someone has had to delay the care they need, that is certainly the cost we are passing off,” she said. “They will eventually have to be paid, and the costs are much lower if we prevent this and work together early.”
Missouri’s House of Representatives recently passed a budget without the $ 130 million the state needs to fund expansion. It is now up to the Senate to decide whether to put the money back in. Sohl said she wants lawmakers to be guided by the voters, who made clear their support by approving the vote to expand Medicaid last August.
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