National League for Nursing - News Release
National League for Nursing Joins Call to Extend State Children's
Health Insurance Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2007—New York, NY—The
National League for Nursing is among the leading voices
being raised by the nursing profession to call for the reauthorization
of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP),
which, since its introduction a decade ago, has successfully
reduced the numbers of uninsured children in the United
States. Created as a result of the Balanced Budget Act of
1997, SCHIP has improved access to health care for the six
million children currently enrolled. In addition to those
children, benefits through SCHIP have also been made available
to pregnant women and 600,000 additional adult family members.
“Concern for the health of our children
is essential to the creation of a compassionate society
that is the cornerstone of democracy,” said Dr. Beverly
Malone, CEO of the NLN. “I cannot stress enough my
belief in universal health coverage for all Americans. SCHIP
is one critical step in the right direction, and it must
not be allowed to lapse.”
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation
study and other professional research, extending health
insurance to previously uninsured children has meant reduced
emotional and financial stress for low-income families and
a positive effect on health outcomes through regular preventive
and primary care.
The NLN supports the National Association
of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) in reaching out
to Congress to incorporate the following principles into
its reauthorization of SCHIP:
- States should have the ability to
cover parents of SCHIP-eligible children as is available
under the current program. Extensive data supports the
premise that parents with insurance are more likely to
keep up with preventative and primary health services
for their children.
- States should be given the necessary
flexibility to cover legal immigrant children and pregnant
women who meet eligibility rules regardless of how long
they have lived in the US. Consequently, we strongly support
language contained in the Immigrant Children’s Health
Improvement Act which lifts the five-year waiting period
for federal health care benefits for legal immigrants.
Pregnant women should be eligible to receive coverage
under SCHIP – without the requirement of a federal
waiver – so that they can have access to the necessary
prenatal care to prevent, detect, and treat health problems
before the birth of a child.
- Incentives should be created for
states to increase outreach and eliminate barriers to
enrollment. We strongly support efforts that reward states
that successfully boost enrollment and prevent children
from dropping on and off the rolls due to strict asset
- Provide for the inclusion of comprehensive
health benefits that include mental health, dental care,
and vision care – among other vital health services.
- Prevent further funding reductions
to Medicaid that would impact the provision of health
care to children. The SCHIP program relies on a strong
Medicaid program which must not be weakened in order to
finance an expansion of health coverage for children.
- SCHIP should maintain flexibility
in program design and eligibility. Its goal should be
to provide health coverage to as many uninsured children
as possible. It would be detrimental for Congress to set
SCHIP eligibility levels lower than are currently set
by states. Lower SCHIP eligibility would impact SCHIP
programs in 26 states and would impact coverage for at
least a million children.
Concluded NLN president Dr. Toni Bargagliotti,
“The NLN is proud to join this vitally important effort
organized by the National Association of Pediatric Nurse
Editors and reporters: For interview opportunities, please contact NLN chief communications officer, Karen R. Klestzick, at 212-812-0376, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dedicated to excellence in nursing education, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education offering faculty development, networking opportunities, testing and assessment, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 18,000 individual and 1100 institutional members.
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