America’s Future Starts with Healthy Children is a national education and advocacy campaign to ensure every child in the U.S. has access to health care. It is led by the Health Rights Organizing Project
Families in America have a dream – to build a prosperous nation and to lead healthy lives. Today, 1 in 8 children do not have health care coverage, making them more vulnerable to preventable illnesses. America has always been a can-do nation; from ground breaking technological innovations to the social security system. We believe that Americans can come together so that the dream of being healthy is realized for every child and family.
What is SCHIP?
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created in 1997 to insure children in families not qualified for Medicaid and unable to afford private insurance. SCHIP, a bipartisan solution, was designed to provide states with federal support for children’s health access.
In 2006, approximately 36 million children were enrolled into SCHIP. In 2007, Congress failed twice to override a Presidential veto to re-authorize the program with expanded coverage. Instead, Congress voted to extend its current funding until March 2009.
On March 31, 2009, the SCHIP is due to expire. Without re-authorization, along with expanded coverage, at least 31 states will run out of funding and millions of children will be dropped.
We believe that we all win when we share the abundant resources this nation possesses. It is with this spirit that we lay out the principles of this campaign.
- Our healthcare system is broken – we must work together to fix it to effectively serve all.
- All families, including immigrant families, work hard to build, sustain and contribute to the nation, and should enjoy respect, inclusion and security.
- Children and families are America’s most precious assets and key to its future prosperity.
The campaign seeks to
- highlight the importance of children’s health,
- promote avenues for improving health access,
- engage communities one-to-one and through the use of technology, and
- share the creative expression of children and their desire to be healthy.
For the next year, efforts will be focused on :
- Ensuring that a strong , reauthorized SCHIP is in place by March 31, 2009;
- Restoring pre-1996 eligibility criteria for immigrants (see the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act – ICHIA);
- Supporting parents of SCHIP beneficiaries; and
- Repealing a federal administrative directive restricting states’ ability to cover children with family incomes above 250% of the federal poverty level.
Over the summer and fall of 2008, thousands of Americans will send a strong message to the presidential candidates and Congressional leadership about the need to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
In January 2009, we will host America’s Future Starts with Healthy Children, an art exhibit expressing young people’s desire to be healthy, will be hosted in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the start of the new Administration.