Policy Priorities

Policy Priorities image of kids

Health Coverage for All Children Campaign

For the past several years, CDF’s top priority has been to guarantee affordable, comprehensive, accessible health coverage for all children. This vision was drafted and introduced in the 110th Congress by Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) and in the Senate by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and was reintroduced in the House of Representatives in the 111th Congress.

We have long been the voice for the uninsured children in America — working closely with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) in the 1990’s to enact the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and all along the way to strengthen and improve the program. In February 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), funding the program through 2013 and putting into place critical improvements that would expand the reach of coverage to millions more uninsured children.

As Congress’ attention turned to national health reform, CDF sought to ensure no child was worse off after health reform and supported legislation that included our three principles for children:

  • The System Must Be Simple and Seamless. There must be a streamlined application and enrollment process to make it easy for children to get and stay enrolled. State bureaucratic barriers still keep about two-thirds of the uninsured children who are eligible for CHIP or Medicaid from enrolling.
  • Benefits Must Be Comprehensive. Every child must be guaranteed access to all medically necessary health and mental health services from head to toe to maximize a child’s health and development.
  • Coverage Must Be Affordable. All children up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level (about $66,000 for a family of four) need cost-sharing protections consistent with current out-of-pocket limits in Medicaid.

Working with several national partners, we convened hundreds of groups and secured the support of hundreds of national and state organizations, representing millions of people throughout the United States to champion principles for children and pregnant women.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in March 2010, represents a giant step forward. It expands coverage to 30 million Americans, including 95 percent of all children. We will continue our hard work to make it work for children and at the same time ensure the promise of coverage reaches every child.