San Francisco Chronicle: Health care for kids
January 17, 2009
Editor - Regarding E.J. Dionne's, "SCHIPing Away at the Need for Health Insurance," Jan. 12: SCHIP reauthorization offers an opportunity for Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to work together to extend and expand an immensely popular and crucial children's health program.
SCHIP has played a vital role in increasing access to health care for our children: In the first six years after the SCHIP program was launched, California's uninsured rate for children fell from 21 percent in 1998 to 14 percent in 2005. There are 1.5 million California children and pregnant moms whose health could be affected by the outcome of the SCHIP debate. SCHIP is the primary funding source for California' Healthy Families program, which provides low-cost health insurance to more than 900,000 California children. Due to the current economic situation Healthy Families has been experiencing record enrollment of more than 30,000 individuals per month.
Congress must reauthorize SCHIP at the $60 billion level for a 5-year period to keep existing coverage strong, and to allow us to do further outreach to over 200,000 more kids who are currently eligible but not enrolled.
ANNE WILSON, CEO
United Way of the Bay Area