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Congress Working on Insuring More Iowa Kids

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 By Dick Layman/David Law, Contact
March 16, 2007

Over 50,000 Iowa children go without health insurance, but Congress is considering a bill that would expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which funds the Iowa Hawk-I health insurance program for kids. Without a supplemental appropriation, Iowa will come up $15 million short this fiscal year. The federal program is currently up for reauthorization, and over 60 national health and child advocacy organizations are calling for expansion of the plan. Charles Bruner is with the Child and Family Policy Center in Des Moines.

"That means making up the shortfall, but it's also giving states the opportunity to step up, like Governor Culver's proposal is, to cover more kids and have matching federal support."

Bruner says a lack of insurance has a long-term impact on children, and on society.

"When we provide primary health care services to kids, and we identify and treat early their health care needs, it has lifelong consequences, for their educational achievement, for their health."

The S-CHIP program was first enacted ten years ago with strong bipartisan support, sponsored by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy. The test this year will be whether Congress not only reauthorizes the program, but fully funds it for 2007 to keep it operating in Iowa.

Parents with uninsured children can call 1-877-KIDS-NOW to determine if their child is eligible for low-cost or free health coverage.

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