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For Immediate Release
March 7, 2007
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NEW YORK, NY — The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) today joined with New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to support each other's efforts to provide all children in New York State and throughout the United States with health care coverage, especially the more than 9 million children who are currently uninsured. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman and CDF-NY Director Donna Lawrence joined with Governor Eliot Spitzer to talk about the importance of taking action now to ensure that all children have the benefit of health coverage.
"Children are too young to vote, they have no voice in Washington's corridors of power, and they can't afford to pay powerful lobbyists. So the American people must take up this fight for children's health and lives. Health coverage for all children in America is our moral obligation and now is the time to get it done. Governor Spitzer has taken up this cause in New York State by putting forward a plan to provide health coverage for all the state's children. I support his effort and look forward to working with him on this extremely important program," said Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman.
Lawrence also praised Spitzer for putting New York in the forefront of the nation in covering children by increasing the eligibility level for children in families with income up to 400% of the poverty level, the highest eligibility level for children in the country.
"Governor Spitzer has set a new standard that the entire nation needs to follow," said Lawrence. "All children have the right to a healthy start in life."
CDF unveiled a legislative proposal in January that would simplify and consolidate children’s health coverage under Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program into a single program that guarantees children in all 50 states and the District of Columbia all medically necessary services. All children would receive comprehensive coverage for all medically necessary care equivalent to current Medicaid benefits.
"The Children's Defense Fund and Marian Wright Edelman are our nation's foremost advocates for the needs and rights of children," said Governor Eliot Spitzer. "Their efforts have consistently pointed us toward effective and innovative solutions. The proposal put forward by the CDF will move us toward a better solution for children's health coverage. That is a mission that I and New York State share, and we look forward to working closely with the CDF on this proposal to improve our efforts."
CDF's plan is designed to help states cover more children. It imposes no additional costs to states to expand coverage and improve benefits beyond what each state paid to cover children in 2006, unless a state opted to raise the income eligibility above 300% of the federal poverty level (about $62,000 per year/family of four). States that choose to cover children and pregnant women above 300% of the federal poverty level would receive federal matching funds. Additionally, states would receive bonus payments if they exceed state-specific targets for covering uninsured children or if they encounter economic downturns.
For more information about the CDF proposal, visit childrensdefense.org/healthychild.