Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Children's Insurance

Legislators gave North Carolina's Health Choice (SCHIP) $59 million to provide healthcare to the 246,000 uninsured children in this state. Families who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford rising health insurance premiums, can get free or reduced priced comprehensive health care for their children with NC Health Choice. It offers the same coverage provided by the state indemnity health plan for the families of state employees and teachers, plus vision, hearing, and dental benefits. The out of pocket costs for the program cannot exceed five percent of the family's income. Unfortunately the federal funding that supplements our program is at risk. President Bush has threatened to veto the federal legislation which is still being negotiated.

NC Kids' Care will receive $7 million to expand health coverage to children between 200-300% of the federal poverty level. This expansion of health insurance means that thousands more children who are not covered by SCHIP or other programs will become eligible for affordable health coverage. NC Kids' Care, which begins on July 1, 2008, will make available affordable health insurance coverage to 38,000 currently uninsured children Families would pay deductibles, co-payments, and monthly premiums subsidized on a sliding scale based on income.

Legislators also appropriated $250,000 for pediatric diabetes prevention and education.

The Smart Start program will receive nearly one and a half million dollars. Smart Start is an early childhood education program that makes sure children in all counties are healthy and ready for school. Smart Start funds are used to improve the quality of child care, make child care more affordable and accessible, provide access to health services, and offer family support. I had sponsored legislation for such funding, House Bill 365, with Rep. Alexander.

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