Crowley Cheers Expansion of Children's Healthcare Program to Tens of Thousands Children in New York

January 14, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) cheered today’s overwhelming passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization bill (H.R. 2), which will improve health coverage for 651,853 children in New York and extend affordable health care to tens of thousands of uninsured children across the state. H.R. 2 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 289-139.

“With every passing day in these harsh economic times, more and more children lose health coverage – making the State Children’s Health Insurance Program increasingly critical,” said Congressman Crowley. “This bill will modernize the program for existing participants, provide coverage to legal immigrants and extend benefits to millions of uninsured children and all pregnant women. When President Obama signs this bill into law, it will be a major victory for 11 million children nationwide, including tens of thousands of uninsured children in New York. As the father of three young children, I am proud to have championed this as the first major health care initiative of the 111th Congress.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF SCHIP REAUTHORIZATION (H.R. 2)

·         Ensures health care coverage for 11 million American children. The bill renews and improves the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which ensures that the 7 million children who currently participate in SCHIP continue to receive coverage and extends coverage to 4 million uninsured children, according to the nonpartisan CBO.

·         Improves care and strengthens funding. The bill invests billions in new funding over five years in SCHIP in order to strengthen SCHIP’s financing; increase health care coverage for low-income, uninsured children; and improve the quality of health care children receive.

·         Provides resources for states to reach uninsured children who are today eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid but not yet enrolled. Two-thirds of uninsured children are currently eligible for coverage through SCHIP or Medicaid – but better outreach and adequate funding are needed to identify and enroll them. This bill gives states the resources and incentives necessary to reach and cover millions of uninsured children who are eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid.      

·         Improves SCHIP benefits – ensuring dental coverage and mental health parity. Under the bill, quality dental coverage will now be provided to all children enrolled in SCHIP. The bill also ensures that states will offer mental health services on par with medical and surgical benefits covered under SCHIP.

·         Improves outreach tools to streamline enrollment of eligible children. The bill provides $100 million in grants for new outreach activities to states, local governments, schools, community-based organizations, safety-net providers and others.

·         Improves the quality of care for low-income children. The bill establishes a new initiative to develop and implement pediatric health quality measures and improve state reporting of quality data.

·         Gives states the option of covering certain legal immigrant children. The bill gives states the option of covering legal immigrant children who have been here less than five years under SCHIP and Medicaid. 

·         Prioritizes children’s coverage and phases out coverage of childless adults and parents. 

Congressman Crowley is a Chief Deputy Whip and member of the exclusive Committee on Ways and Means with jurisdiction over Medicare.

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