Senator Bernard Sanders to Introduce Bill to Provide Health Coverage for Nine Million Children

For Immediate Release
May 29, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Ed Shelleby
(202) 662-3602

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) today applauded Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) for announcing that he will introduce legislation—the All Healthy Children Act—to provide all children and pregnant women in the United States with health coverage, including nine million uninsured children.  Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced a companion bill (H.R. 1688) in the House earlier this year, which currently has 52 co-sponsors.  Sanders will introduce the Senate version of the legislation after the Memorial Day Congressional Recess.

"It is wrong that nine million children in America―the richest nation in the world―still do not have health coverage," said Marian Wright Edelman, CDF President, at a press conference with Senator Sanders today.  "I know of at least three children who died this year from denied, delayed and inadequate medical care.  This should not happen in the United States of America. I applaud Senator Sanders for having the vision to make health and mental health care a reality for all children in America."

While Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) have made tremendous progress in covering children over the past decade, nine million children in America are still uninsured, almost 90 percent of them living in households with at least one working parent. As SCHIP funding comes up for reauthorization this year, Congress has the opportunity and responsibility to stop preventable child death and suffering by ensuring all children health coverage and guaranteeing them access to all medically necessary services in as simple, expeditious, humane and cost-effective manner as possible.

"Vermont should be very proud that we are a leader in providing health care for children, but I want to take what Vermont has done and show the whole country that it is the right thing to do," Sanders said. "The richest country in the world must provide a safety net for every uninsured and underinsured child, and the All Healthy Children Act would do just that."

"How we take care of our children speaks to our very values as a society," said Congressman Scott.  "Without health insurance, children and families suffer emotionally, physically, mentally and financially.  We have the resources to pass the All Healthy Children Act, and with the help of my colleagues in the House and Senate, all children will have health care coverage by next year."

Unlike other health coverage proposals before Congress, the All Healthy Children Act guarantees all uninsured children and pregnant women the health coverage they need. The legislation simplifies and consolidates children's health coverage under Medicaid and SCHIP into a single program that ensures:

  • All children and pregnant women are guaranteed health coverage and access to timely health care regardless of where they live;
  • Children and pregnant women receive all medically necessary services to ensure they survive and thrive;
  • Enrollment is simplified and streamlined so it's easy for children and pregnant women to get health coverage and keep it.

For more information about the All Healthy Children Act and CDF's Healthy Child campaign, visit www.childrensdefense.org/healthychild

For more information about the Children's Defense Fund, visit www.childrensdefense.org.

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