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For Immediate Release
September 17, 2013
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WASHINGTON, DC – Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) President Marian Wright Edelman issued the following comments today in response to the Census Bureau’s release of data showing that in 2012 nearly 7.2 million children under 19 were uninsured compared to 7.6 million children in 2011 – a decrease of 441,000.
“Today’s health insurance numbers reflect the significant progress made in covering children and bringing the number of uninsured children to historic lows. These gains are in large part due to the strong protections and coverage guarantees in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which last year provided comprehensive health and mental health coverage to more than 43 million children in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since CHIP’s creation in 1997, the percentage of uninsured children has been cut in half.
As we celebrate our progress today in providing children a healthy start, we must vigorously recommit to ensuring every child in America access to comprehensive and affordable health coverage. When 7.2 million children remain uninsured – 70 percent of whom are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP coverage but not enrolled – we are jeopardizing their futures. Children have only one childhood. They need to be healthy to grow and to learn in school. The good news is that we don’t need to wait and can rigorously reach out right now to all Medicaid and CHIP eligible children through our public schools, community, faith, and service institutions to ensure children survive and thrive right now without waiting for open enrollment to begin on October 1st. Let us work together with urgency and persistence to make it happen.”