The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, has launched a $3 million advertising campaign to support congressional reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
SCHIP, which began in 1997, must be reauthorized by Congress this year in order to continue. The ad campaign is part of the foundation's larger Cover the Uninsured initiative, which in 2007 is highlighting the success of SCHIP, demonstrating the ongoing need for the program, and enrolling eligible families in available insurance programs. The centerpiece of the campaign is Cover the Uninsured Week, April 23-29, 2007. The print and broadcast ads, which will run through April in various regional markets and on national cable news outlets, can be seen on the Cover the Uninsured Web site.
According to government figures, there are nine million uninsured children in America — more than the total number of kids enrolled in the first and second grades in U.S. public schools — and they are less likely to see a doctor or receive care for childhood illnesses such as sore throat, earaches, and asthma. To make the connection between a healthy childhood and the importance of health insurance coverage for children, the ads created by the foundation feature a healthy young boy playing in the grass, catching bugs, and blowing bubbles.
"SCHIP is America's most successful effort to provide health coverage to uninsured children, but the program is in danger," said RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. "In reauthorizing SCHIP, Congress must provide the funds needed to maintain coverage for all kids currently enrolled in the program and the millions more who are eligible but are not enrolled. We know that children who have health insurance are better prepared to learn in school and better equipped to succeed in life."