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DeGette Bill Would Protect Babies from being Born Uninsured

Health

Washington – The bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children today endorsed legislation to ensure that no child is born uninsured. The Start Healthy Act, sponsored by United States Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), would make babies uninsured at birth eligible for Medicaid until they are covered by other insurance.

“We created Medicare because Americans shouldn’t live their last years uninsured – let’s also ensure Americans don’t live their first years uninsured,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.

Health care is particularly important for very young children, who routinely need medical care even when they are not sick. Consistent care during early years ensures that babies and toddlers receive required immunizations and appropriate screenings to ensure their health and development. The Start Healthy Act would make pediatrician-recommended preventive care, as well as necessary treatments for illness or injury, affordable for every child.

A First Focus Campaign for Children poll in 2012 found broad, bipartisan support for covering uninsured babies under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The survey, completed by the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, found that 72 percent of respondents favored a policy similar to the Start Healthy Act, including 50 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters, 58 percent of self-described conservatives, 70 percent of those concerned with the federal budget deficit, and 81 percent of moms.

“As a nation that has one of the highest infant mortality rates among developed nations in the world, we must ensure that every child in this country begins with a healthy start. Rep. DeGette’s bill is exactly what a huge, bipartisan majority of voters want – a concrete plan to solve a problem that matters to real people,” said Lesley.

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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.