Parents Reject Free Health Benefits - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Parents Reject Free Health Benefits

"It's just too much work for me to try to deal with the government and try to work everything else I've got to do," says parent Casey Barker "It's just too much work for me to try to deal with the government and try to work everything else I've got to do," says parent Casey Barker
"They don't go to the doctor until they're really sick and at that point in time they usually just end up at the emergency room," says local Social Worker Donna Soria. "They don't go to the doctor until they're really sick and at that point in time they usually just end up at the emergency room," says local Social Worker Donna Soria.

Some Amarillo parents are forgoing free government health aid for their kids.

One local dad says signing his daughter up for Medicaid benefits is just too much trouble.  NewsChannel 10 found out why some parents prefer to take their chances without child healthcare.

The Women's and Children's clinic is one of few places that take Medicaid patients in Amarillo.  But state health officials say most kids who qualify are not even on that program. Casey Barker says he won't even try signing up his daughter for Medicaid, although she qualifies. "I'm not even looking. It's just too much work for me to try to deal with the government and try to work everything else I've got to do," he says.

Barker adds he'd have to miss work and jump through too many hoops to come up with the documentation for his daughter. A local social worker says the situation is the same for thousands of Amarillo kids. "They don't go to the doctor until they're really really sick and at that point in time they usually just end up at the emergency room," says Donna Soria.

She says many of Amarillo's low income parents refuse to file Medicaid paperwork because it's too confusing and too hard to keep up with. Barker says for now, he'll bide his time. "All you can do is pray she doesn't get sick and just hope for the best," Barker says. He currently has supplemental health insurance but does not take his daughter for regular doctor's visits. He says if she gets sick, he'll just have to pay for it out of pocket.

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