Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has reported that more than 7 million children were enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 2007—a 5.9 percent increase over the previous year.
“While we are pleased that SCHIP continues to grow, we must do more to reach those at the lowest income levels who still need this coverage,” Leavitt said. “Toward that end, we will continue to work with Congress on the reauthorization of this vital program.”
The announcement comes as the SCHIP faces reauthorization in the upcoming year.
The enrollment data, compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and based on state reports, show that 7.1 million children were enrolled in SCHIP at some point during federal fiscal year 2007, compared to 6.7 million for fiscal 2006.
Created in 1997 with bipartisan support in Congress, SCHIP is a state and federal partnership designed to help uninsured children. SCHIP received $40 billion in federal funds over 10 years through 2007, and Congress recently extended the program until March 2009.
“We continue to work with states to assure that as many eligible, uninsured children as possible are enrolled in SCHIP and Medicaid,” CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems said. “As a result, we are seeing more low-income children with access to regular, high quality, affordable healthcare."