The story behind Hillary Clinton’s crusade to provide health insurance for millions of kids.
She was a “one-woman army.”
As first lady, Hillary Clinton was a driving force behind the country’s largest expansion of health insurance coverage in decades, due to her tireless crusade to help expand access to our country’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
At the time, countless families across the U.S. were above the income limit to qualify for Medicaid but couldn’t afford private insurance. The result was millions of low-income children without health care coverage. Hillary was determined to fix the problem. Despite her setback in 1993 to enact universal health care, she returned to the drawing board to tackle the issue on a smaller scale.
It was a heavy lift, especially with a Republican-controlled congress, but Hillary took on the challenge.
Hillary served as an advocate behind the scenes, partnering with Senator Ted Kennedy and working with White House staff to help shepherd legislation and ensure the budget for the health plan was as large as possible.
By 1997, with bipartisan support from both Kennedy and Senator Orrin Hatch, the bill passed through congress and landed on President Bill Clinton’s desk to be signed into law.
With that signature, the Children’s Health Insurance Program became the largest expansion of public health insurance coverage since the passage of Medicaid in 1965, promoting health coverage for children by providing federal funding to states.
As the New York Times reported after the legislation passed, Hillary “played a crucial behind-the-scenes” role in getting the White House on board.
Today, roughly 8 million children have access to health coverage because of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Over the years, Hillary has received letters from families all over the country whose lives were changed by the program.
Like this one, from Karen in Ohio:
“[My step grandson] was born with disabilities… Your program came along in our time of need. He needed revisions with his shunt, he needed counseling to deal with the rejection of his family and loss of his mother. Your program allowed me to be able to get him much needed healthcare and medical services. He is an adult now with 4 children of his own. Thank you Hillary for helping me raise this little boy that nobody wanted but me.”
And Martha from North Carolina:
“Children’s health insurance went on to help us with obtaining the best quality hearing aids available over the following few years and when [my daughter] was 7 helped us obtain a cochlear implant… Now my daughter is almost 21 years old. She has NORMAL speech and language! I owe you a thank you. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.”
And Laurie from Michigan:
“My son Bryce was born with cerebral palsy and bi-lateral femoral anteversion and communicating hydrocephalous… I was a financially struggling never been married single mother who was now faced with raising a child with special needs all alone… I humbly applied for the child health coverage from the State of Michigan. This coverage was available to my son BECAUSE Hillary Clinton was the main advocate in Washington during her husband’s presidency for the federal child health care act… The cost and care for my son totaled over $200,000.00, a cost I could have never in my lifetime have been able to even dream of coming up with… because of [Hillary] my son WALKS into a room and he WALKED down the aisle to his beautiful bride and someday he will run and play with his own children!”
And 8 million other kids like Kayla:
The success of CHIP and Medicaid has cut the rate of uninsured children in the U.S. by half — but there’s still more work to do.
Improving the quality of life for kids and families has been the cause of Hillary’s career — and it will be her mission as president to make sure all Americans have affordable, high-quality healthcare.
Originally published at www.hillaryclinton.com.