Health Insurance :: AMA reinforces efforts to cover uninsured kids

Today, America’s doctors said loud and clear that they want to improve the federal health insurance program that protects America’s children, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Physicians voted at the American Medical Association Annual Meeting in Chicago to reinforce efforts to improve children’s health care in the U.S. through SCHIP, the federal-state program that currently provides health care to more than six million low-income children. The AMA voted to continue to support the reauthorization of SCHIP and advocate for adequate funding for the program. SCHIP, which will expire in September, is expected to be renewed by Congress in the coming months.

“Physicians see the benefits of the SCHIP program firsthand: parents who work hard, but aren’t able to afford health insurance, are able to get their children the care they need to stay healthy and strong,” said Samantha Rosman, MD, AMA Board Member and pediatrician.

“Congress must find a way to pay for the millions of children the SCHIP program will protect ? including the many who are currently eligible, but not enrolled,” said Dr. Rosman. “This spending on children’s health is a sound investment in our nation’s future.”

The AMA weighed in on ways to improve enrollment, suggesting the use of enrollment information from the federal school lunch assistant program as documentation for SCHIP.

The AMA recently joined more than 60 other health care organizations to send a letter to Congress supporting an increase in the tobacco tax to fund SCHIP. A recent poll shows that two-thirds of Americans support a tobacco tax increase to fund children’s health care.

The AMA has participated in a number of activities to lobby Congress this year for the reauthorization of the SCHIP program. Early in the year, the AMA joined a group of 16 national health care stakeholders through the Health Coverage Coalition for the Uninsured (HCCU) to announce a plan to cover the uninsured, which focuses first on covering kids. In April, the AMA also participated in Cover the Uninsured Week, an annual event to raise awareness of America’s uninsured, as well as a 3,700 mile cross-country bike ride promoting improvements in global and local health.

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