WASHINGTON-- Hillary Clinton introduced the Children’s Health First Act today, a major legislative initiative aimed at providing all children with access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage.
"Making health care accessible and affordable for all children will keep kids healthy, save lives, control costs, and end heartache and worry for so many parents," Clinton said.
Approximately 20,000 New Hampshire children are without health care, some of whom are already eligible for the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) but are not enrolled. Clinton’s legislation includes incentives and more options for states to expand children’s healthcare to those who are not eligible, and identify and enroll uninsured kids that already qualify for coverage. Clinton also released a "HillCast" web video today detailing the legislation and her plans to expand access to health care for all Americans.
Watch the video here:
Clinton ’s bill will be one piece of a larger universal health care plan she will announce in the months ahead.
" Too many hard working families in New Hampshire are struggling to make ends meet and quality, affordable healthcare continues to remain out of reach," said State Representative Martha McLeod, Executive Director of the North Country Health Consortium in Littleton, NH. "Senator Clinton’s plan will ensure that states partner with the federal government and employers to help make sure every one of the roughly 20,000 uninsured children in New Hampshire has the quality healthcare they deserve."
New Hampshire is a leader among states providing healthcare coverage through the NH HealthyKids Silver and Gold programs. While New Hampshire currently covers families up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($49,800 for family of three) and offers a buy-in program for families that fall between 300 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, Senator Clinton’s bill will ensure healthcare is even more affordable and accessible to these struggling families. Her bill will ensure the federal government and states work together to expand children’s health coverage to families up to 400 percent of the poverty level ($70,000 for family of three) through SCHIP allowing them to receive increased federal payments.
If President Bush has his way, his proposed changes to SCHIP, which would limit federal matching funds for families who fall under 200 percent of the federal poverty level, would lead to about 6,000 of the 7,022 children enrolled in the NH HealthyKids Silver program losing their healthcare.
Clinton ’s plan also offers a new affordable coverage option for both families and employers by allowing them the opportunity to buy health insurance coverage through SCHIP. And it provides new incentives to strengthen and protect employer-sponsored coverage, something more than 50 percent of children enjoy today.
HILLARY CLINTON: EXPANDING HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN
Hillary Clinton introduced the Children's Health First Act today with Rep. John Dingell to make quality, affordable health care coverage available to every child in America.
Nearly nine million children lack health coverage and are significantly less likely to visit a doctor when they are sick and receive the care they need to stay healthy. Investing in children's health care pays long-term dividends by reducing hospitalization and serious illness and giving young people a better chance to succeed in school.
INCENTIVES FOR STATES TO EXPAND COVERAGE : Hillary's bill would create federal incentives for States to expand their children's health coverage for families up to 400% of the poverty level through the State Children's Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP).
ENROLLING ELIGIBLE KIDS : States will receive the resources necessary to identify and enroll the six million children who are eligible for existing coverage but are not enrolled, and will be required to eliminate waiting lists and enrollment caps for children who qualify.
EMPOWERING EMPLOYERS AND FAMILIES TO BUY-IN : Employers and families would be allowed to buy-in to the SCHIP program to cover their children under the bill if they were ineligible. In 2007, that would cost about $1,200 a year per child.
PROTECTING EMPLOYER COVERAGE : Hillary's legislation would provide employers with help in covering the children of their employees, allowing States to pay employers a subsidy up to 50% of the cost of covering the child.
GIVING STATES MORE FLEXIBILITY : The bill would allow the States the ability to cover children up to the age of 25 and legal immigrant children, while offering incentives to cover pregnant women.
% of kids uninsured
Total number of kids uninsured
300% of poverty
$49,800 annual family income
Source: Source: http://covertheuninsured.org/states , a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
(Clinton's bill would raise the eligibility to 400% of poverty, or $70,000 in annual income.)