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April 1, 1998: Ensuring Health Coverage for Children

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Wednesday, April 1, 1998


Today, on the sixth-month anniversary of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, Domestic Policy Council Chair Bruce Reed, and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling announce that New York and Illinois's children's health expansions have been approved. With these new additions to CHIP, eight states have approved plans that will, when fully implemented, cover over one million children.

After Only 6 Months, Approved Plans Will Cover One Million Children. Over 10 million children in America are uninsured. Nearly 90 percent of these children have parents who work, but do not have access to or cannot afford health insurance. President Clinton is committed to ensuring coverage for these children. With the addition of New York and Illinois, eight states have approved CHIP plans. These approved state plans will provide health care coverage for an estimated one million children.

Rapidly Implementing The New Children's Health Insurance Program. An NEC/DPC Progress Report issued at today's event shows the successful implementation of the Children's Health Insurance Program. To date:

  • Eight states have approved plans to insure one million children, including Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina. Together, these states estimate that they will provide health care coverage to over one million children;
  • Another fifteen states have submitted Child Health Plans for approval, including Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin;
  • Almost all other states have processes in place to develop and submit plans to expand coverage to uninsured children;
  • States are taking advantage of CHIP's flexibility to develop innovative programs that meet the unique needs of their populations; for example, 12 states have proposed expanding coverage through Medicaid, 6 have proposed using block grants, and 5 have proposed a unique combination of the two.
Continuing Work To Cover Uninsured Children. The rapid progress of the Children's Health Insurance Program will help millions of uninsured children get the health care coverage they need. However, this program will not reach all uninsured children. There are currently four million uninsured children that are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid. Today, the Administration reiterated its commitment to finding ways to cover these children, by:
  • Enrolling children in schools and child care sites. The President's budget proposes to allow states to enroll children in the places where they are --specifically schools and child care cites;
  • Involving the private sector. Representatives of providers, children's health groups, foundations, and a host of private sector entities, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, have made new commitments to help find and enroll these kids.

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