Senators Introduce Bill To Provide $100M in Grants for Medicaid, SCHIP Outreach Programs
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) on Tuesday introduced a bill (S 1049) that would provide $100 million in HHS grants over two years to states, local communities, schools, faith-based organizations and others to help enroll eligible children in Medicaid or SCHIP, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Under the bill, HHS would award the grants to organizations with "innovative" outreach and enrollment programs for uninsured children. HHS would award the grants over fiscal years 2006 and 2007, with any unused funds awarded in subsequent fiscal years. The bill also would allocate 10% of the grants to the Indian Health Service and tribal and urban American Indian organizations with outreach and enrollment programs for uninsured American Indian children.
Organizations that receive grants would have to assess the effectiveness of their programs and report the information to the HHS secretary, who would provide Congress with an annual report on the programs. In addition, the bill would allow states to use information from other public assistance programs to determine whether applicants qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP.
In a release, Frist said, "Covering children is not only the right thing to do, but, by ensuring that children have access to preventative care, it is also one of the best ways of reducing long-term strain on America's health care system."
Bingaman added that many parents "simply don't know these programs exist or how to enroll their children in them" (CQ HealthBeat, 5/17).