Student health is linked to success

Student health is linked to success

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It’s National Nurses Week, and as a nurse working in schools for 2 years, I know the importance of child health. Every day I see the direct link between a student’s health and her ability to succeed.

It’s a fact: Healthier kids have better school attendance which leads to higher graduation rates. Higher graduation rates lead to a workforce better prepared to meet Montana’s future needs. But, Montana’s future is at risk.

Nationally, much of our attention has been directed on the efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and it is easy to overlook that these efforts could have a devastating impact on the children in our state.

In 2009, the Montana Legislature enacted the Healthy Montana Kids program (HMK), which brought Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Children’s Medicaid under one umbrella with a streamlined application process. Because of HMK, more than 120,000 Montana children have access to preventative primary care services, dental and vision care, prescription drugs, and specialty care if needed.

If Congress repeals the ACA, it could severely damage the HMK program and effectively end Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion helps keep parents healthy, which is important to kids. Should the plan that the House passed last week become law, it would land a terrible blow to families and children across the state.

I hope that you will join me in keeping our kids healthy by contacting our members of Congress to express your support for CHIP and Medicaid. Health + Education = Success.

Vicki Sulser

Billings

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