September 30, 2009


WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded grants of $200,000 to the Garrett County Health Department and $988,177 to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to help find and enroll children who are uninsured but who are eligible for either Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).


Millions of American children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, but are not enrolled. It is estimated that there are approximately 100,000 Maryland children who are eligible for Medicaid or the Maryland CHIP program but are not enrolled.   When the CHIP program was reauthorized in January 2009, $100 million was set aside for fiscal years 2009-2013 to find and enroll eligible children.    Today's announcement by HHS totals $40 million in grants to 41 states and the District of Columbia for a two-year period ending December 31, 2011.  


"No child in Maryland or in the nation should be without health care," said Senator Cardin.   "In reauthorizing the CHIP program, we made sure that states and health departments would have the resources that are needed to reach out and make sure every child who is eligible for Medicaid or CHIP is enrolled."

"Health care is just too expensive for too many working families," said Senator Mikulski, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "While we work on our goal of quality, affordable health care for all Americans, the federal funds announced today provide important resources to make the most of CHIP by enrolling eligible children in Maryland. CHIP already provides a critical safety net for more than 110,000 children in Maryland. It is coverage that's been especially important during this economic crisis, providing children whose parents who have lost a job or don't have insurance with access to medical care to grow up healthy and strong."

The CHIP reauthorization bill included several of Senator Cardin's proposals, including a guaranteed dental benefit, a dental education program for parents of newborns and a new HHS website and toll-free number with information about dental coverage and a list of providers.