President Barack Obama, on February 4th, signed a bill extending health coverage to 4 million uninsured children. This, according to the President, is a first step toward fulfilling a campaign pledge to provide insurance for all Americans. President Obama had this to say about the new law:
As I think everybody here will agree, this is only the first step. Because the way I see it, providing coverage to 11 million children through CHIP is a down payment on my commitment to cover every single American.
The bill reauthorizes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Alabama has about 78,000 children without health insurance, according to Cathy Caldwell, director of Alabama’s ALL KIDS health insurance program. Of those, about 38,000 are eligible for Medicaid and 14,000 are eligible for ALL KIDS. Ms. Caldwell said that passage of the bill allows the state agency to continue to search out eligible families and enroll them. ALL KIDS currently covers 71,000 children in Alabama whose families have too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health insurance.
The children’s health bill calls for spending an additional $32.8 billion on the program, which now enrolls an estimated 7 million children. The revenue was generated when Congress raised the federal tobacco tax. In my opinion, this legislation was badly needed and it’s difficult to understand why anybody in Congress voted against it.
Source: Associated Press
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