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.