Policy Priorities

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Give a Voice to Children in the Health Care Debate

The recent expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was a strong step forward. But even with that expansion, 5-6 million children will still be uninsured and millions more underinsured. Now is our chance for real reform. Together, we can make sure all children get the health coverage and care they need.  Unfortunately, too few lawmakers realize this serious problem and as a result they may forget to include children in the health reform legislation that Congress is drafting right now. But to move toward a healthy future, our nation cannot afford to leave any child behind.

As CDF continues its health campaign for all children, we are running a series of ads over the next few months urging Congress to ensure the children's part of the national reform legislation includes three critical principles:

  • Coverage Must Be Affordable. Establish a national eligibility floor of at least 300 percent of the federal poverty level for all children and pregnant women, with an affordable buy-in based on a family's income for those over that income level.
  • Benefits Must Be Comprehensive. Guarantee every child access to all medically necessary services to maximize a child's health and development.
  • The System Must Be Simple and Seamless. To ensure children get enrolled and stay enrolled, simplify the application and enrollment process to make it easy for all children to get covered and stay covered. This must include eliminating known barriers to enrollment and instituting automatic enrollment of eligible children.

As momentum for health reform legislation builds and we face an unprecedented opportunity for change, it is now more important than ever that children’s needs are met. Our country needs a healthy workforce and there’s no better investment than comprehensive, affordable health coverage for all children to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.

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CDF's Principles for Children's Health Reform Are Supported By:

  • 1,300 organizations and leaders representing more than 100 million people throughout the United States.
  • Tens of thousands of supporters who have sent emails and letters, made phone calls, and attended rallies, town halls and office visits urging their Members of Congress to ensure health coverage for all children.
  • Prominent faith leaders from around the country who are adding the moral voice to our fight.

CDF Has Partnered With HCAN, Leading Children’s Groups and Civil Rights Groups to Cover All Children

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Lawmakers and Administration Officials Have Acknowledged Children's Needs and Support Health Care for All Children

"We just expanded [CHIP] so that more kids can get health care. But we still have more work to do because there are still children out there who don’t have health care. I think every child in America is going to have health care, and we are going to try to get that law passed this year."
President Barack Obama, March 24, 2009

"As one member of the committee, we’re going to pay particular attention to that subject matter as this moves forward to make sure that children will be given the kind of special consideration they deserve."
Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), April 28, 2009

"The political and public will to reform our broken healthcare system present a unique opportunity for America’s children. We cannot simply rest on our accomplishment of reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — we must build upon it. As Congress works with President Obama to reform healthcare, we must carefully examine children’s health policy and seize the opportunity to guarantee that age and developmentally appropriate health benefits are provided for every child in the United States. With the combination of private insurance, Medicaid and CHIP as a solid foundation, the goal of health reform should be to harmonize eligibility and enrollment rules and to provide children comprehensive and continuous coverage."
Rep. Diane DeGette (D-CO), March 23, 2009