WASHINGTON — With more than 3 million poor children eligible for government health insurance but not receiving it, President Clinton plans to propose an intense outreach effort in his State of the Union address next month.
The child coverage gap within the Medicaid program has proved nearly intractable over the years, according to policy experts.
Indeed, little progress has been made since Clinton highlighted the problem a year ago. Now the president wants to commit additional funds to outreach efforts and to prod states, communities and federal officials to search for joint solutions.
"To do any kind of new outreach will involve some money, but we're not looking at a massive expenditure," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Monday. He added that Clinton also will encourage everyone who comes in contact with children--including teachers, church workers and health-care providers--to participate.
According to the Census Bureau, 3.4 million of the nation's 10.3 million uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled.