HHS Releases Bilingual Booklet on CHIP, Medicaid; Thompson Speaks on Hispanic Health
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson yesterday released a new bilingual booklet to provide information to low-income Spanish-speaking parents whose children may qualify for CHIP or Medicaid, the Dallas Morning News reports (Cativo, Dallas Morning News, 7/24). HHS will distribute the 13-page booklet, titled "Protect Your Family's Health ... With Confidence," to community health centers and other organizations and will work with states that "want to add information about their programs" to the booklet. The booklet includes four sections: one that explains the importance of health insurance in children's health care one that explains the enrollment process and benefits for CHIP and Medicaid, one that provides answers to questions about eligibility requirements and other issues, and one that provides explanations of terms used in the enrollment process. Thompson said, "States have made the SCHIP program a dramatic success, and a key element of that is making sure families sign up their eligible children." He added, "The new booklet will help to expand health insurance coverage to eligible children in the Hispanic community by providing information to families about benefits available to their kids" (HHS release, 7/23).
In an address to members of the National Council of La Raza yesterday, Thompson said that in addition to the booklet, "more needs to be done" to address the disparity in health care between Hispanics and non-Hispanics, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Thompson said, for example, that HHS has approved a number of requests for waivers to allow states "more leeway" in their Medicaid programs to help "close the health care gap." According to Thompson, the waivers have reduced the percentage of uninsured children nationwide from 14% to 10.8%. He added, "More than two million (additional) children have insurance. And many of these children are poor Hispanic children." In addition, HHS has provided $20 million in grants to 75 community health centers nationwide to "expand health initiatives." However, Thompson said that Hispanic women ages 65 and older have double the rate of cervical cancer compared with non-Hispanic white women in the same age group and that Hispanics have double the rate of diabetes compared with non-Hispanic whites. He said that La Raza and other Hispanic advocacy groups must "spread the word" about disease prevention measures, adding, "Health care is not just the responsibility of the health provider or the government. Health care starts with us" (Cazares, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 7/24).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.