[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[October 1, 1998]
[Page 1713]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1713]]

Statement on the Anniversary of the Children's Health Insurance Program
October 1, 1998

    Today marks the one-year anniversary of the new Children's Health 
Insurance Program (CHIP). This historic effort--which I called for in my 
1997 State of the Union and signed into law last summer as part of the 
historic bipartisan Balanced Budget Act--is the largest children's 
health coverage expansion since the enactment of Medicaid over 30 years 
ago. CHIP provides $24 billion to help States offer affordable health 
insurance to children in working families that make too much for 
Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage.
    I am proud to announce that in its first year, nearly four out of 
five States are already participating in CHIP. A report released by the 
Department of Health and Human Services today finds that these State 
programs will provide health care coverage to over 2.3 million children 
when fully implemented. Many of these States have indicated they will 
expand their programs to even more children, and the remaining States 
have proposals that we expect to approve in the coming months.
    However, much work remains to be done to improve the health of our 
Nation's children. We must work to ensure that every child eligible for 
CHIP gets enrolled. Equally important, over 4 million uninsured children 
are eligible but not signed up for Medicaid. Educating families, 
simplifying the enrollment process, and making health insurance a 
national priority requires a sustained commitment from the public and 
the private sector. This has been and will continue to be a top priority 
for my administration. I have directed 12 Federal agencies that serve 
children and families to reach out and enroll uninsured children and am 
extremely encouraged by our partnership with the States and the private 
sector to help meet this challenge.
    We know that children with insurance are healthier--getting more 
regular checkups, more routine immunizations, and fewer ear infections. 
On the one-year birthday of CHIP, let us recommit ourselves to providing 
affordable health coverage to the millions of American children without