For Immediate Release
August 28, 2007
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to startling new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of uninsured children from birth through age 18 rose for the second year in a row. In the last year alone, another 707,000 children have been added to bring the total to more than 9.4 million uninsured children in America. This increase is more than double the jump from 2004 to 2005.
“It is a national disgrace that in just two years, the number of uninsured children has increased by a million in the richest nation on earth,” said Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman. “This alarming jump demonstrates that our children need a strong national safety net so that every child has access to the health coverage needed to survive and thrive. It is shameful that despite overwhelming public support, the President appears to be doing everything in his power to prevent children from getting the critical health coverage they need. Congress has a moral obligation to stand up to the President and stand strong for children today to ensure a healthy America tomorrow.”
These new census numbers clearly indicate that the six years of improvement in the rate of health coverage for children that began in 1999 — largely due to the success of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) — have ended, and the number of uninsured children is once again on the rise. The release of these numbers follows closely on the heels of the President’s threat to veto SCHIP legislation passed by Congress and the issuance of harsh new rules by the Bush Administration that will substantially increase the number of uninsured children.
While both houses of Congress have passed bipartisan expansions of SCHIP that would provide health coverage to millions more of the uninsured children — a five-year, $35 billion expansion in the Senate and a stronger $50 billion version in the House that would insure a million more children than its Senate counterpart — the President has threatened to veto these bills. More recently, the Bush Administration released onerous new SCHIP rules that will force at least 19 states and the District of Columbia to actually drop children currently or soon-to-be-enrolled in SCHIP programs and effectively prevent other states from expanding health coverage to many more uninsured children.
To learn more about the Children’s Defense Fund’s Healthy Child Campaign to provide health coverage to all children in America, visit, www.childrensdefense.org/healthychild.