View Header

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President


For Immediate Release September 1, 1998
               VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES NEW EFFORTS 
                 TO TARGET, ENROLL UNINSURED CHILDREN
                        IN HEALTH CARE COVERAGE

            Announces Approvals of Iowa, Delaware, and Kansas
               State Children's Health Insurance Programs

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced new federal and private efforts today to target and provide health care coverage for uninsured children.

While hosting the National Child Health Caravan multi-state journey to reach out and enroll uninsured children, the Vice President unveiled new efforts by federal agencies to sign up uninsured children who are eligible but not enrolled in federal-state health insurance programs; announced federal approval of Delaware, Iowa, and Kansas' state children's health insurance programs (CHIP); and highlighted the special challenges that rural states face in targeting and covering uninsured children.

"We are using every tool at our disposal to find uninsured children, to enroll them in quality health care, and to make sure they have access to the care and treatment they need," the Vice President Gore said in a speech in which he praised the Children's Health Fund "National Child Health Caravan," which will deliver new mobile units that provide a range of health services for children in medically underserved areas.

The Vice President also announced:

     New Federal Initiatives to Identify and Enroll Uninsured 
     Children:  The Vice President announced new steps that agencies 
     are taking in response to an Executive Memorandum that directed 
     eight federal agencies to help sign up millions of uninsured 
     children eligible for coverage.  They will:

     -- Launch a new campaign to encourage states to partner with
        school lunch programs that serve 15 million children.  Today,
        Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman is launching a campaign to
        encourage states to use the 94,000 school lunch programs to sign
        up uninsured children.  They will distribute several model free
        and reduced price lunch application forms that states and 
        schools may use to link families to state health insurance 
        programs.
     
     -- Kick off efforts to educate the six million families in
        low-income housing programs about health insurance.  This week,
        Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo will send
        information about the new CHIP program and how to identify and
        enroll families eligible for CHIP or Medicaid to:  3,400 public
        housing authorities; 25,000 owners and managers of multi-family
        properties; 72 directors of Urban Empowerment Zones and
        Enterprise Communities; grantees providing assistance to 
        homeless families; beneficiaries of the Native American 
        Mortgage Loan Program; and parents and community groups working 
        on lead hazards.

     -- Utilize over 150,000 Treasury employees who work with the
        Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other low-income programs 
        to educate families about CHIP and Medicaid.  Later this week,
        Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin will send 158,000 employees a
        memorandum encouraging their participation in efforts to target
        and enroll children in CHIP and Medicaid.  These employees
        encounter low-income families, many of whom have uninsured
        children, in a number of ways.  About 15 million families 
        receive EITC.

     Approval of Delaware, Iowa and Kansas' Children's Health Insurance
     Programs, Meaning That Nearly Two-Thirds of States Have Been 
     Approved.  The Vice President announced that, today, Health and 
     Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala approved three new states 
     for CHIP:  Delaware, Iowa and Kansas -- all with disproportionate 
     numbers of uninsured children in rural areas.

     -- Delaware:  The Delaware Healthy Children program expects to
        cover over 10,000 children with family income up to 200 percent
        of the poverty level.

     -- Iowa:  The "Healthy And Well Kids in Iowa" program (HAWK-I)
        expects to cover 15,500, expanding Medicaid to all children with
        family income belows 133 percent of the poverty level.

     -- Kansas:  The HealthWave program expects to cover 40,000
        children, ensuring that all children with family incomes below
        200 percent of the poverty level are eligible for coverage.

     In addition, the Vice President announced efforts to meet the

challenges of covering the 2.5 million uninsured children in rural communities. He:

     Announced Over $1.6 million in Funds to Renew Successful Rural 
     Health Projects in Underserved Communities.  The Vice President 
     announced that, this month, the Health and Human Services 
     Department will renew projects that reach out to children in 
     underserved rural areas.

     Urged Congress to Pass the Rural Outreach Initiative in the
     President's 1999 Budget.  This initiative would provide a total of 
     $2 million to up to 10 rural communities.  These communities will 
     use the money to train citizens to provide outreach services to 
     residents in hard-to-reach populations, bringing them into the 
     health care system for primary care, preventive services, and 
     acute care.

                                    ###