Saturday, August 25, 2007

You can save SCHIP!

As a member of the MomsRising executive team, I've decided to spread the good word on my blog and post copies of the latest action items. We've been quite successful, having learned a thing or ten from our founders' experiences (Joan Blades co-founded; Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner directed an environmental PAC in WA State). I have learned an enormous amount about how to be politically savvy from them. In just a little over a year, MomsRising has built a strong, active base (100,000+ members and growing daily).

And so I give you our latest outreach-- saving the state children's health insurance program! (I promise, it's exciting. And just below it is my latest Good Life series post, on shelter. I'd love your comments.)

Dear MomsRising Member,

Imagine being told you couldn't take your child to the doctor for a full year. What might happen if your child got strep throat and had to go without medical attention for months and months? This sad scenario will be a reality for many U.S. families if the rules aren't fixed: Under new rules, made by the President, some children who depend on lower-cost health care coverage will have to wait a full year--with no insurance at all--to qualify for help.

This outrageous requirement is part of a slate of changes made to limit the number of children who can benefit from the lower-cost health care coverage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). We can't believe that in a country where 1 in 9 children go without any health care coverage at all, there is any thought of more limits. This senseless rules change is especially surprising because SCHIP is supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Everyone, it seems, except for the President, sees the value in giving kids healthcare. Let's send a strong message together. TELL CONGRESS THAT KIDS CAN'T WAIT FOR HEALTHCARE BY GOING TO THIS LINK:

When Congress returns from its recess in September, it will take up funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program again. Tell your representatives that they must reverse these new and backward-thinking rules (described below), and fully fund the program.

THE SCOOP ON SCHIP: This federal health care program (one of our favorites!) helps families afford health coverage for their children (and this help is critically important because right now 1 in 9 children are without health care coverage at all!). Here's how it works--it gives funds to the 50 States, who then use the money to create health care coverage programs for kids. Families that don't meet the low-income standards for Medicaid coverage, but still don't make enough to purchase private insurance, can apply for their children to be covered by the state-run plans.

What makes this program so powerful is that it allows states to decide what level of assistance makes sense for their populations--taking into account the state economy, local cost of living, and the total number of uninsured children in their state.

ABOUT THAT 1-YEAR WAIT FOR THE DOCTOR: Sadly, the just released rules undermine a state's ability to administer their program in the best way -- helping the most kids get much needed health coverage. These problematic changes include the following:
* Requiring a 1-year waiting period--with no insurance at all--for some children before they can be covered;* Pushing states to only cover children whose families are at 250% of the federal poverty level, regardless of the cost of living in that state;* Tying children's health coverage to private insurance enrollment rates: if private insurance enrollment is down in a state (for any reason), then the federal government won't cover more kids.

This just plain doesn't make sense-particularly because private insurance enrollment is often tied to a job so there could be a scenario where unemployment would go up, but help for kids' health care would go down!As a part of a nation-wide, bi-partisan effort, we've been working long and hard to re-authorize SCHIP this year. MomsRising members have already sent over 30,000 emailed letters to Congress urging them to fully fund this essential federal program. Now, these new administrative rules threaten to undermine that hard work. Let's tell Congress to stop the madness.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS, DON'T LET THE SCHIP GO DOWN: Forward this email to all your loved ones. Let's make sure that kids can go to the doctor when they're sick, regardless of their families' ability to pay.*Don't forget to email Congress now to tell them all children need health care coverage: Best --Katie, Kristin, Donna, Nanette, Joan, and the MomsRising Team

P.S. Want to know how SCHIP works in your state and see if you might be eligible? Check out this great resource from PBS: P.P.S. BELOW YOU'LL FIND ARTICLES & RESOURCES ABOUT THIS ISSSUE:
- Administration's letter to health officials: - New York Times:;hp%26amp;oref%3Dslogin and;ex%3D1187841600%26amp;en%3Daf37007e15249f06%26amp;ei%3D5087%250A - Seattle PI: PBS: Fox:,4670,ChildrenapossInsurance,00.html
-MomsRising is a bootstrap organization which covers a lot of ground with very few staff. Your donations make the work of MomsRising possible. To donate today on our new, secure website go to: