September 29, 2000
"We need to keep pushing forward until all our children are covered. If we make the right decisions, if we make smart choices and see them through, we can continue to reduce the number of uninsured people in America."
President Bill Clinton
September 29, 2000
Today, at the White House, President Clinton announced data indicating that as of June 2000, approximately 2.5 million children were enrolled in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). This announcement follows yesterday's release of new Census Bureau data showing that from 1998 to 1999, the number of Americans with health insurance rose by 1.7 million, two-thirds of them children. The President announced the release of $700,000 in grants to help states identify and enroll uninsured children and keep them enrolled, and called on Congress to pass his bipartisan health care coverage initiative which includes a new affordable health insurance option for parents and expanded options for those facing unique barriers to coverage.
NEW ESTIMATES OF ENROLLED CHILDREN. New estimates released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicate that as of June 30, 2000 approximately 2.5 million children have enrolled in the S-CHIP program. Enrollment has increased by an impressive 50% over the last 9 months.
CENSUS BUREAU DATA SHOW DECLINE IN NUMBER OF UNINSURED. Yesterday, the Census Bureau released new national data on health insurance coverage in 1999, showing a significant decrease in the number of people without health insurance nationwide. Key data include:
- The number of uninsured Americans decreased by 1.7 million in 1999 – the first decline in at least 12 years;
- 2 out of 3 of those newly insured are children;
- States that have aggressively expanded their S-CHIP and Medicaid programs have the fewest uninsured;
- The 3-year decline in Medicaid enrollment has ended; and
- The percentage of workers covered through their employers increased in all firms, even small firms.
Despite these historic gains, problems persist:
- While the number of uninsured declined for those with incomes below $50,000, the number and rate stayed the same or increased for those with higher incomes;
- Purchasing affordable, accessible health insurance is a challenge for many older people, workers between jobs, small businesses and their employees, legal immigrants, and young adults
RELEASING GRANTS FOR OUTREACH AND ENROLLMENT. HHS will invest $700,000 in grants to states and rural communities to enhance S-CHIP outreach and enrollment efforts. These grants will:
- Invest $400,000 in 5 states developing new strategies to enroll kids and help them stay enrolled in S-CHIP and Medicaid; and
- Invest $300,000 in 20 rural communities to reach children in rural areas.
URGING CONGRESS TO PASS HEALTH INSURANCE INITIATIVE. The President urged Congress to pass without delay his comprehensive health insurance initiative, which includes proposals to:
- Provide a new, affordable health insurance option for families; and
- Expand health insurance options for Americans facing unique barriers to coverage, such as those age 55-65, workers between jobs, workers in small businesses; and legal immigrants.