April 07, 2009

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan to Discuss Children's Health Care with Advocates, Experts

April 7, 2009 9:16 AM

Legislation Could Provide 32,000 New Mexican Children with Health Care Coverage

Washington, DC - Rep. Ben Ray Luján will hold a roundtable discussion on children's health care and the passing of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that could cover 32,000 children in New Mexico. Attendees include, Marlene Baca (Chief Sales & Services Officer for Lovelace Healthcare), Dennis Wilson (CEO of Lovelace Health Plan), Dr. Alfredo Vigil (Secretary of the NM Department of Health), Bob Beardsley (Deputy Director of Medical Assistance Division, NM Department of Human Services), Mary Eden (Vice President of Governmental Programs -Medicare/Medicaid for Presbyterian Healthcare Services), and Dr. Ben Hoffman (Pediatrician, UNMH).

What: Rep. Ben Ray Luján's SCHIP Healthcare Roundtable

When: TOMORROW, Tuesday, April 7, 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Where: Presbyterian Healthcare Clinic, 4005 High Resort Blvd SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Rep. Ben Ray Luján joined a majority in the House of Representatives in support of the final version of bipartisan SCHIP legislation, which will provide health coverage for over 32,000 children in New Mexican and 11 million low-income, uninsured children nationwide. The legislation was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

"Families in New Mexico are struggling during these difficult economic times, and I proudly joined my colleagues in support of an expansion of health care coverage for low-income, uninsured children to  help children and families throughout the state," said Luján. "In a time of rising unemployment, it is especially important to make sure that parents are able to get their children the health care they need to stay healthy and active. Healthy children attend school, participate in after school activities, and are better equipped to put themselves on a path to success."

A report released by Families USA analyzed the SCHIP legislation and detailed its positive impact on New Mexican families. According to the report, 32,100 uninsured New Mexican children could be covered under the reauthorization of SCHIP, reducing the number of uninsured children in the state by 35 percent.

The bipartisan reauthorization language preserves health care coverage for the 7.1 million children currently covered by SCHIP and extends coverage to 4.1 million uninsured children who are currently eligible for the program, but not enrolled. The new law covers almost half of the 8.7 million children uninsured nationally.

In New Mexico, 16,525 children receive health care coverage through the successful SCHIP program. This new law preserves coverage for these children and works toward covering the 93,000 New Mexican children who lack health insurance. According to the report, with 32,100 uninsured children who could be covered under the reauthorization of SCHIP, the number of uninsured children in New Mexico could be reduced by 35 percent. This new law increases the SCHIP allotments for New Mexico by 277%--from $52 million to $196.2 million.

SCHIP was created in 1997 to provide health care coverage for children in families that earn too little to afford private health insurance for their children, but too much to qualify for Medicaid.

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