I had the opportunity to tag along to a press conference this past Friday with NETWORK Lobbyist, Sr. Marge Clark. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Arne Duncan of the Department of Education announced the creations of Connecting Kids to Coverage, a national coalition to enroll uninsured children in vital healthcare programs. Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan challenged groups in both the private and public sectors and at all levels of government to work together to ensure that no child goes without health coverage.
Five million children are currently eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but are not receiving this life-changing coverage. Secretary Sebelius made clear that the major obstacles to insuring children is often the misconception that a family’s income is too high (the current cut-off is a family income of around $45,000/year), or a family is unaware that they have become eligible under new rules. Connecting Kids to Coverage was announced in collaboration with the Urban Institute’s findings on uninsured children. Thirty nine percent of eligible, uninsured kids reside specifically in California, Texas and Florida with 61% of uninsured children living in just ten states. (www.urban.org/health_policy/url.cfm?ID=412129 ).
Following the press conference, we attended a Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) meeting with Joshua Dubois (Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships) to discuss the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. CHN expressed their desire and belief to Mr. Dubois that this was not the time for the administration, or the American public, to settle for a weakened Senate bill that leaves children with inadequate nutrition throughout much of the year.