THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION TAKES NEW STEPS TO INCREASE
ENROLLMENT OF UNINSURED CHILDREN
October 12, 1999
Today, in an address to 8,000 pediatricians at the annual meeting of the
American Academy of Pediatrics, the President will unveil a series of
new actions to target and enroll millions of uninsured children who are
eligible for Medicaid and CHIP. These new actions include: 1) dedicating
over $9 million in research funds to identify effective children's
health insurance strategies; 2) directing Cabinet Secretaries to develop
strategies to institutionalize school-based outreach; 3) sending new
guidance to states and schools on funding options for school based
outreach; and 4) releasing a report detailing new activities on
outreach. The President also will announce that over 1,500 schools in
49 states have pledged to join the Insure Kids Now campaign.
During his speech, the President will challenge Congress to pass a
number of critically important health care initiatives for children. He
will call for passage of a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights,
and for passage of the Jeffords-Kennedy-Roth-Moynihan Work Incentives
Improvement Act. He also will criticize the Republican leadership for
supporting budget and appropriations bills that reject the
Administration's proposals to prevent youth smoking, and to increase
funds for childhood immunizations, children's health insurance outreach,
graduate medical education at children's hospitals and the nation's
safety net providers.
Today, President Clinton will:
ANNOUNCE NEW FEDERAL EFFORTS TO IDENTIFY AND ENROLL UNINSURED CHILDREN.
There are over 10 million uninsured children nationwide, and aggressive
implementation of CHIP has enrolled over 1 million children. States
report that enrollment should more than double over the next year, but
we must do more to ensure the success of this program.
Today, the President will:
Release the first annual Interagency Report on Children's Health
Insurance Outreach detailing the hundreds of outreach activities being
conducted by 11 Federal Departments and agencies. Today, the Federal
Interagency Task Force on Children's Health Insurance Outreach, created
by President Clinton last year, reported on their accomplishments and
proposed new activities to identify and enroll eligible children in
CHIP. Highlights of new activities include:
Adding AmeriCorps to the Task Force. Every new AmeriCorps and
AmeriCorps*VISTA member working with youth and in health care settings
will receive information on CHIP and Medicaid outreach techniques in new
member orientation materials. With this information, thousands of
volunteers nationwide will be able to link uninsured children to the new
health insurance options available.
Advising grandparents about new health insurance options for kids.
Recognizing the importance of grandparents as caregivers, HHS and SSA
are including information on CHIP and Medicaid in this fall's
cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) notices and the "Medicare and You"
handbook, sent to all 39 million Medicare beneficiaries annually.
Reaching families as they file their taxes. During the upcoming tax
season, the IRS will provide information on CHIP and Medicaid to over
8,000 Voluntary Income Tax Assistance volunteers helping families to
complete their income tax returns.
At the Vice President's request, direct Cabinet Secretaries to develop
strategies to integrate children's health insurance outreach into
schools. Today, the President will sign an executive memorandum
instructing the Secretaries of HHS, Education, and Agriculture (which
has jurisdiction over the school lunch program, serving more than 25
million children daily) to report to him in six months on steps the
Federal government can take to institutionalize school-based outreach
and enrollment and to highlight successful ongoing programs. Using
schools to target enrolled children is a strategy that has been strongly
promoted by the Vice President. It builds on innovative programs some
states are already implementing. For example, both Indiana and New
Jersey are using their Federal authority to conduct on-site enrollment
of children in schools.
Release new administrative guidance on CHIP funding options for
school-based outreach to state health and education officials. This
week, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Education will
send guidance to every relevant state agency describing the financial,
administrative, and technical assistance that CHIP offers for
school-based outreach. It will clarify how states and schools can use a
portion of the multibillion dollar CHIP allotment to provide outreach in
schools. It also will suggest that states allow schools to provide
immediate eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP to children who appear to be
eligible for those programs; and it will promote the upcoming national
and regional conferences on school-based outreach.
Announce that more than 1,500 schools have already responded to the
call to join the Insure Kids Now campaign. At the National Governors'
Association meeting last August, the President announced that Secretary
of Education Riley was requesting school superintendents and principals
to conduct outreach for and enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP as part of
their back to school activities. In response, more than 1,500 schools
in 49 states committed to new steps to help children, including
providing information on CHIP and Medicaid (including the national toll
free number for children's health insurance outreach - 1877 KIDS NOW) at
parents' nights, registration and school physicals, and in letters sent
to parents about immunization.
Announce over $9 million public-private partnership to identify
effective children's health insurance strategies. Today, the President
will announce that HHS and The David and Lucille Packard Foundation will
join forces to fund over $9 million in research on best practices in
outreach techniques, and in how health insurance programs improve the
quality of, and access to, health care for low-income children. These
projects will focus on minority children and children with special
health care needs. The results will be widely disseminated to Federal
and state policy officials and will help refine Medicaid and CHIP to
meet more effectively the needs of children.
WELCOME NEW PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS IN THE INSURE KIDS NOW CAMPAIGN.
The President is pleased to announce the addition of Parmalat and Swiza
Foods to Insure Kids Now campaign, joining Safeway, General Motors,
Kmart, McDonalds, and other private sector partners.
URGE CONGRESS TO PASS INSURANCE REFORM INITIATIVES ESSENTIAL TO
CHILDREN'S HEALTH. The President will call on the Congress to:
Pass a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. Last week, a
strong bipartisan majority in the House passed the Norwood-Dingell
Patients' Bill of Rights, a major victory for every family in every
health plan - but there is still more work to be done. The President
will urge Republican leaders to resist weakening the patient protections
guaranteed in the Norwood-Dingell bill or undermining the bill's
bipartisan support in conference. Finally, he will urge the Congress to
ensure that the Patients' Bill of Rights is paid for without using the
Social Security surplus.
Build on its success in acting on the Patients' Bill of Rights to pass
a bill with even greater bipartisan support: the Work Incentives
Improvement Act. This bill passed the Senate unanimously and has been
co-sponsored by a majority of the House of Representatives. The
President will encourage the House to act now and send him this bill to
sign before Congress recesses for the year.
THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP MUST MOVE FORWARD ON BUDGET PROPOSALS THAT ARE
CRITICAL TO CHILDREN'S HEALTH. The President will criticize the
Republican leadership for:
Failing to address the problem of youth smoking. The President will
criticize the Republican leadership for rejecting the Administration
proposal to increase the price of cigarettes by 55 cents a pack. He will
reiterate that of the more than 400,000 Americans who die each year from
smoking related diseases, almost 90 percent of them started smoking as
teenagers. The President will point out that increasing the cost of
cigarettes is not only one of the most effective ways to prevent kids
from starting to smoke, it is good fiscal policy because revenue raised
by this increase will help save the Social Security Trust Fund.
Failing to invest in children's health insurance outreach. Neither
the House nor the Senate bills include the Administration proposal to
remove the sunset from the $500 million fund on TANF-Medicaid outreach.
To date, only $50 million has been spent, yet for most states, the
funding ends in the next few months.
Jeopardizing childhood immunization rates. The House bill provides
almost $85 million below the President's request of $526 million for the
CDC's Childhood Immunization program. This low level of funding would
result in approximately 170,000 children not receiving the full
complement of recommended childhood vaccines.
Short-changing graduate medical education at children's hospitals.
The Senate bill does not fund the Administration's $40 million proposal
to fund graduate medical education at children's hospitals, where
one-third of pediatricians and over half of many pediatric
sub-specialists are trained.
Under-funding care for the uninsured. The Senate bill does not fund
the Administration's initiative supporting the nation's health care
safety net. Most of the uninsured are employed, but lack affordable
health insurance options, relying on public hospitals and other safety
net providers for needed health care.