THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION TAKES NEW STEPS TO INCREASE ENROLLMENT OF
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
$9.5 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 of Federal 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. 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
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
Announce a $9.5 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 $9.5 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
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
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.