SCHIP Legislation Signed By President Obama
Feb 06, 2009
Legislation reauthorizing and expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was signed into law by President Obama this week. The new funding will extend coverage to an estimated additional 4.1 million uninsured children. All children need access to health care to promote their healthy development. A child who is not receiving routine check-ups may miss having a developmental delay diagnosed early, when treatment can be most effective. If a child has an untreated ear infection, he may not be able to hear properly to respond appropriately to his parent or teacher. Children especially need access to health care during the critical growth period of their early childhood years. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 36 percent of children under age six are covered by a government health insurance and an additional 11 percent have no health insurance.
The new law also eliminates a previous 5-year waiting period before legal immigrant children could enroll. This change is important to ensure all children have access to the health services they need and to reduce fear among all immigrant families, regardless of status, in seeking necessary care for their children. Fear of accessing federal programs is a significant barrier to immigrant families accessing services for their children, including citizen children. Among young children of immigrants under age six, 93 percent are United States citizens and an additional 4 percent are legal immigrants.