For Immediate Release
April 3, 2007
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WASHINGTON, DC — The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) today applauded Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) for introducing HR 1688, The All Healthy Children Act to provide all children and pregnant women in the United States with access to health care, including the 9 million children who are currently uninsured.
“While Congress considers reauthorizing children’s health programs this year, Congressman Scott has stepped forward to do something real for our children,” said Marian Wright Edelman, CDF President. “It is a shame that 9 million children in America ― the richest nation in the world ― still do not have health care coverage. I applaud Congressman Scott for having the vision to make health and mental health care a reality for all children in America.”
While Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) have made tremendous progress in improving children’s health insurance in the past decade, 9 million children in America are still uninsured, almost 90 percent of them living in households with at least one working parent. Chronic budget shortfalls, often confusing enrollment processes, and dramatic variation in eligibility and coverage from state to state prevent millions of currently eligible children from leading healthy lives and realizing their full potential in school and life.
“Health care coverage for all children is indeed the smart thing to do and Washington has fallen behind what the country needs,” said Congressman Scott. “Children are our future and by far the most cost-effective investment. How we take care of our children speaks to our very values as a society. We should do it, we can do it, and with the help of my colleagues in Congress, all children will have health care coverage by next year.”
Unlike other health care proposals, Congressman Scott’s legislation guarantees all 9 million uninsured children and pregnant women access to the health care they need. The All Healthy Children Act (HR 1688) simplifies and consolidates children’s health coverage under Medicaid and SCHIP into a single program that guarantees children in all 50 states and the District of Columbia all medically necessary services. In addition, Congressman Scott’s bill:
- Expands eligibility to all children with family incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level ($61,950 for a family of four).
- Guarantees coverage to children regardless of their state of residence.
- Eliminates barriers to enrollment; applications for health care coverage would be short and simple to complete; and all states would adopt presumptive eligibility for children and pregnant women.
- Increases provider rates to make sure that children have access to needed health care professionals.
- Provides coverage to pregnant women with incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. Pregnant women are eligible for all medically necessary health and mental health services until at least 60 days after the birth of a child.
For more information about the Children’s Defense Fund, visit staging.childrensdefense.org.