|For Immediate Release
March 21, 2007
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NEW ORLEANS, LA — Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) President Marian Wright Edelman today commended the New Orleans City Council for its unanimous vote late last week to support CDF’s plan to provide health care insurance to every child in America, including the hundreds of thousands in New Orleans who are still in urgent need of health and mental health care to help them recover from the Hurricane Katrina disaster of a year and a half ago.
In Resolution R-07-134, the New Orleans City Council states that: “Relocation and unemployment due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left thousands of children uninsured and unable to access insurance coverage in Louisiana and other states. If these losses of the children of New Orleans are left unaddressed, the stage is set for emotional problems that may result in later life trauma exposures to drug abuse, alcoholism, divorce, and high unemployment as youths become adults. Children need comprehensive coverage for all medically necessary care. The New Orleans City Council fully supports the Children’s Defense Fund’s [plan], which establishes a new, consolidated children’s health program.”
CDF offers its plan as Congress prepares to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a program that CDF championed in 1996. More than 9 million children in America are still uninsured, almost 90 percent of them living in households with at least one working parent. Millions more are underinsured. 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.
“Children are too young to vote, they have no voice in Washington’s corridors of power, and they can’t afford to pay powerful lobbyists,” said CDF President Marian Wright Edelman. “The American people must take up this fight for children’s health and lives. Health coverage for all children in America is our moral obligation and now is the time to get it done. I thank the New Orleans City Council for their support, and I look forward to working with them to provide all children with health care this year.”
A summary of CDF’s legislative proposal can be accessed at staging.childrensdefense.org/healthychild.