Thursday, August 27, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy's role in creating CHIP

In the myriad of articles and tributes to Senator Edward Kennedy we found one this morning that focused on his work to expand programs to help the poor. Kennedy was instrumental in creating CHIP, the federal program that brings universal health care to children in the U.S.

From this article from South Coast Today, writer Becky Evans tells us more about the creation of S-CHIP.

“I don't think you will see a U.S. senator anytime soon who will contribute as much to helping the poor and the working class, particularly in SouthCoast, but all over the country,” said Sen. Mark C. Montigny, D-New Bedford.

Montigny, who collaborated with Kennedy on numerous local projects throughout the years, said one of his most rewarding experiences was working with the senator during the 1990s to develop a universal health care program for uninsured children.

Kennedy, with his extensive health care knowledge, helped advise Montigny and former state Rep. John McDonough on legislation that created a state health insurance program for uninsured children. The Massachusetts program, which delivered health care to thousands of uninsured children in SouthCoast, later served as a model for a nationwide program, Montigny said.

The federal program, known today as the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, provides matching funds to states that offer health insurance to families with children.

“Here he was advising us on how to do it in Massachusetts and then soliciting advice from us on how to do it nationally,” Montigny said of Kennedy.

“There is no one who has done more to push health care expansion in this country,” he added.

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