Simple. Declarative. Forceful. This isn’t just a fluffy, sentimental, feel-good statement. This four word sentence is a point of advocacy, a recognition that for too long, and still too often, kids don’t actually get the best. It calls attention to ongoing disparities for kids in health care and other areas of society. For example, while the overall poverty rate is 14.5%, it’s 22% for children. Only 60% of medications used in both children and adults are approved for and have information on pediatric usage. And payment rates for Medicaid, the primary government insurance for children, are lower than for Medicare, which covers adults.
Few people would disagree with the notion that kids deserve at least as good as adults get. So why do society’s results fall so short of its ideal? In many ways, the deck is stacked against children’s issues. Kids don’t vote. (And they don’t make campaign contributions.). And because they are basically healthy, while children are 28% of the population, they represent only 13% of all health care spending. So it makes sense that politicians and policy-makers, and health business leaders, are focused more on adult issues.
Now, saying kids deserve the best doesn’t mean adults don’t, too. Advocating on behalf of kids to bring them to par doesn’t mean I’m advocating against adults. I’d love for everyone to have a lower poverty rate, or universal access to medications. But saying “everyone deserves the best” obscures the message that kids have been missing out. So with all due respect to my fellow adults, I’ll continue to work to ensure kids get what they deserve. The Best.