Unemployment is taking its toll in many ways. In January, 340 South Carolinians per day lost their health insurance, mainly due to job loss. Groups concerned about enrollment in the South Carolina Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-CHIP, have enlisted the help of state lawmakers to get the word to parents about the expansion of the program. S-CHIP is now able to provide free health care for 70-000 uninsured children. But only 12-thousand are currently signed up. Currently there are more than 130,000 South Carolina children who have no health insurance.
Sue Berkowitz with the Appleseed Legal Justice Center says organizations have produced more than 600,000 flyers and brochures that can be distributed to every elementary and middle school child in the state, to take to their parents. She says members of the General Assembly are helping a lot. “It was heart warming and amazing how we have been embraced by members of the general assembly. And it has been a bi-partisan effort. Everyone we have contacted has said, ‘Yes, I will take it back to help these kids.”
Berkkowitz says lawmakers did their part by expanding the program, and now it’s up to parents to take advantage of it. “What we hope is that if we continue to get the word out, we can get the number of children enrolled who should be, 70,000, because one child uninsured in South Carolina is one too many.”
Other organizations assisting in the effort include the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Fair Share and AARP.