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President Clinton Delivers Statement on New Census Numbers Showing Increase in Health Insurance Coverage

Aired September 29, 2000 - 11:00 a.m. ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: First we want to go to President Clinton at the White House, making an announcement about Census numbers and Social Security.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. Thank you. Good morning.

Thank you, Debbie.

She did a good job, didn't she? Let's give here another hand. I was very -- thank you.


I would also like to ask the rest of her family to stand, her husband, Chris, and her son, Bryant, and her daughter, Melissa. Let's give them a big hand there. There they are.


Thank you for being here.

I also want to thank the advocates whom Secretary Shalala mentioned and three elected officials who have strongly, strongly supported our efforts. First, in the Congress, Representative Sandy Levin and Representative Robert Underwood. Thank you for your help.


And Linda Cropp from the D.C. City Council, thank you for being here.


Let me announce, before I get to the subject at hand, that I just signed the continuing resolution which Congress sent me yesterday, necessary because our fiscal year ends tomorrow, and we have to have a stopgap funding measure for the government to run. But I hope we can now pass the remaining appropriations bills. September has come and gone and Congress still has obligations to fulfill.

These children behind me have been back in school for a month, but we still don't have the first assignment turned in from Congress: ensuring that our schools have the resources to meet the high standards we expect of them.

Now, let's get back to this story. Deborah's story is all too common in America.

There are millions of our fellow citizens, like her and her husband, who get up every day, go to work, play by the rules, and still have a tough time finding affordable health insurance.

For eight years now, Secretary Shalala and Hillary, who I wish could be here today for this happy announcement, and I have worked as hard as we could to make sure families get more health insurance.

Yesterday, we have more evidence that our approach is working. The census data shows that the number of uninsured Americans fell by 1.7 million in 1999, the first major drop in a dozen years.


Nearly two-thirds of these newly insured are children, like many of those who are here with us today.

Since I signed the CHIP program into law, 2.5 million children have been able to get insurance through this program. In our budget, Vice President Gore and I proposed a family care initiative which would take care of the second part of Debbie's statement. It would expand CHIP to cover the parents of eligible children.


If we do this, we could cover a quarter of all the uninsured children and families in America, and, I might add, those that are most at risk and need the health insurance most.

Parents like Deborah and Chris Redbenner (ph) know what a difference health insurance can make.

You just heard it. Not just in emergencies, but for routine care. Consider the child who doesn't get treated for an ear infection and might suffer permanent hearing loss, and certainly while in pain would have a harder time learning in school. Consider the toll of untreated asthma which will cause American students -- listen to this -- to miss 10 million school days this year alone. That's why we need to keep pushing forward until all our children are covered.

To help accomplish this, the Department of Health and Human Services is awarding $700,000 in grants today to develop new and even more effective ways to identify and to enroll uninsured children. These grants will be used not only to get children enrolled, but to keep them enrolled...

KAGAN: We have been listening to President Clinton from the White House, talking about new Census numbers, looking at the new number of people with health insurance. About a million more people now insured. According the Census, according to last year's numbers, still more than 40 million people in America still without health insurance. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT


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