Clinton Announces New CHIP Enrollment Initiatives
President Clinton announced Saturday that the government will launch a "special" campaign through school lunch programs and child care centers to enroll more children in the CHIP program, the Los Angeles Times reports. Already, more than three million children are in the program, but many more are eligible (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 1/7). Clinton said in his weekly radio address, "In just 12 months, the number of children served by the [CHIP program] has grown by more than 70%. ... The success of CHIP is particularly impressive when you consider that the program has only been up and running for three years. It's a testament to the diligent efforts of the federal, state and local officials who run the program, and to the love that parents have for their children." As part of the new campaign, states will be able to access data from the federal free or reduced-cost school lunch program to "contact families who may be eligible for assistance with health insurance," Clinton said (Clinton address, 1/6). About 60% of children who lack insurance currently participate in such programs (Los Angeles Times, 1/7). In addition, parents will continue to be permitted to instantly enroll their children in the CHIP program or Medicaid when they fill out applications at child care centers, school nurse offices and other locations. Clinton said, "No longer will [parents] have to wait weeks, or even months, while their applications are being processed, before they can get health care for their children" (Clinton address, 1/6). The Times reports that in announcing the new rules, Clinton "simply was speeding up an ongoing process by authorizing states to undertake new efforts to find eligible children." Besides those new rules, Clinton announced a "separate but related initiative," the Times reports. That initiative will make federal money available to help some employers provide insurance for their employees' children (Los Angeles Times, 1/7). That initiative is part of the CHIP program's final regulation, which "codifies the policies and practices that the federal government has developed in partnership with states," according to a HCFA release. The final rules also "clarif[y] the states' obligation to 'screen and enroll' children" for Medicaid eligibility before enrolling them in the CHIP program (HCFA release, 1/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.