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Call To Extend Health Insurance To All Children

Faith leaders and other members of the religious community have called upon the US Congress to cast their votes in favor of reauthorization// of the SCHIP program.

This program, State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) aims to provide health insurance to thousands of children whose parents are not offered health insurance through their jobs, or else cannot afford it.

On April 23, faith leaders, heads of the Detroit Medical Center's Children's Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, Henry Ford Health System, Oakwood Health Care, Inc., St. John Health, Trinity Health and 400-plus community members gathered to launch the Cover the Uninsured Week 2007 (April 23-29).

The Cover the Uninsured campaign is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and focused on the need to secure health coverage for all Americans. In its fifth year, the campaign is now focused on the reauthorization of SCHIP and enrolling eligible families in available insurance programs. Currently Congress is debating how much money to devote to kids' coverage.

The Interfaith Summit is expected to highlight the effect that reauthorizing and expanding the program would have on Michigan's children.

Today, nearly 10 million children are without health care. More are underinsured for the services that they need and still others are at risk of losing their coverage. Families lacking health insurance are less able to access needed care. They are often forced to choose between paying for food, rent and other necessities and the health services that their child needs to learn and grow.

Says James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals: "Providing all children with the opportunity to receive needed healthcare and services is a serious issue in the country today. “Easter Seals is a strong advocate for the SCHIP program and the services it provides. And, we're working with other advocates for children to ensur e all children have the ability to live healthy lives."

The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine has shown that health insurance status is the single most important influence in determining whether health care is accessible to children when they need it.

MCHIP, the Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program, provides health insurance coverage for children and pregnant women who meet income guidelines, enrolling about 95,000 children in Maryland, yet 133,000 children still remain uninsured.

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