May 2000

Grant Results

SUMMARY

During 1997 and 1998, the Alliance for Health Reform published materials and held briefings on the issue of children's health care coverage. The effort spanned the period of debate, adoption and early implementation of the federally mandated State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which was adopted in August 1997.

Based in Washington, the Alliance for Health Reform is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization focusing on health coverage for all Americans.

Key Results
Dissemination products developed through this effort included:

  • Two issue briefs.
  • A Capitol Hill briefing.
  • A source list for reporters.
  • Two seminars for congressional staff.
  • A series of briefings for journalists.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through two grants totaling $222,164.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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THE PROJECT

RWJF's 1997 grant (ID# 031290) enabled the Alliance to conduct an educational briefing for congressional staff, journalists, and other Washington-based opinion leaders on health coverage for children and to prepare an issue brief during the period that SCHIP was under consideration in Congress. Adopted in August 1997, SCHIP provided $24 billion over five years to be used by the states to expand coverage to uninsured children.

The purpose of the renewal grant (ID# 032283) was to permit the Alliance to undertake additional activities — three Capitol Hill briefings, two press briefings, production of two issue briefs and a chart book, and to convening convene an expert advisory panel on children's health and insurance — to help its target audience to keep abreast of the proposals and developments as the states implemented a variety of children's coverage initiatives, including SCHIP.

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RESULTS

Results: Grant ID# 031290

  • The Alliance published a four-page issue brief in March 1997, Health Coverage 1997: Insuring America's Children, drafted by Julie Rovner, a freelance health policy writer whose commentary appears on National Public Radio, edited by Judy Feder of Georgetown University's Institute for Health Care Research and Policy, and reviewed by a group of experts (see Appendix). This issue brief described who uninsured children were, why they became a top national policy priority, various public- and private-sector approaches to expand coverage, and specific state programs. It also included a source list with names and telephone numbers of experts on kids' coverage issues representing a broad political spectrum.
  • The Alliance held a Capitol Hill briefing on March 21, 1997, "Insuring Kids: Can We Give a Boost to Working Families Without Busting the Federal Budget?" Attendees (numbering close to 200) included congressional staff and members of the print and broadcast media. Participants received information packets that included the issue brief, additional background material, and a Bibliography of topical reading suggestions.

Results: Grant ID# 032283

  • The Alliance produced two publications:
    • Health Coverage 1998: Outreach to Uninsured Kids. Produced by the same team that created the 1997 issue brief, this four-page issue brief commented on what organizational and financial conditions must be in place for effective outreach, discussed barriers to coverage, offered public- and private-sector strategies and possible funding sources for reaching eligible children. It also provided a capsule description of SCHIP and summarized an outreach program developed by the state of Georgia. A source list provided the names and telephone numbers of a broad spectrum of experts on children's coverage issues.
    • Reporter's Source List: Children's Health Care Issues — Selected National and State Contacts. This compendium of experts on children's health from around the country was expanded and updated throughout the course of the project on the grantee's Web site.
  • The Alliance sponsored two events for congressional staff, journalists, and national organization leaders:
    • "$24 Billion for Kids Health Coverage: What's Next?" Topics at this August 8, 1997, briefing included state and federal responsibilities under SCHIP, division and expenditure of money among the states, the kinds of programs anticipated, congressional restrictions on spending, the use of new money to defray previously state-funded costs, and methods to prevent employers from dumping privately insured kids into public programs. Attended by more than 175 congressional staff members, journalists, and national organization leaders, each of whom received a packet of materials, the event was covered live by C-SPAN and rebroadcast several times over the next few days.
    • "Reach Out and Cover Someone Young: A Look at How Government and the Private Sector Are Working to Enroll Eligible Children Without Health Insurance." More than 150 congressional staff members, journalists, and national organization leaders attended this seminar on May 27, 1998. Topics included barriers to enrollment for children eligible for health insurance through SCHIP or Medicaid, what government and the private sector should be doing to identify and enroll eligible children, and examples of some of the most effective state outreach efforts.
  • The Alliance sponsored a series of press briefings for journalists. Briefings in Washington, D.C., in December 1997 and July 1998 outlined state and national strategies for implementing SCHIP and reported on the states' progress. The latter briefing was carried live on C-SPAN television and radio, and repeated several times on subsequent days. The Alliance also sent briefing teams to San Antonio and Houston, Texas, and Charlotte, N.C., to discuss with local editors and reporters how their respective states were addressing children's health needs.

In addition, the topic was incorporated into the agenda of the Alliance's retreat for senior congressional health staff in Annapolis, Md., in January 1998.

Communications

Issue briefs were mailed to 3,000 congressional offices, journalists, and opinion leaders, and were also distributed at conferences of journalists. The first issue brief was also reprinted in the Alliance's Sourcebook for Journalists: Managed Care and the American Health System, published in January 1998 under a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Articles based on information disseminated by the renewal grant appeared in Medicine & Health, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and several other professional and general-interest publications. Project information and publications are also available on the Alliance's Web site. (See the Bibliography for details.)

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AFTER THE GRANT

The Alliance continues to promote and distribute project publications and to update information on children's coverage on its Web site. Information on children's coverage issues also will be included in briefings for journalists scheduled for other cities and supported by the Alliance's grant from the Kellogg Foundation.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

New Alliance for Health Reform Briefings on Children's Health Insurance Coverage

Grantee

The Alliance for Health Reform (Washington,  DC)

  • Briefings on Expanding Children's Health Insurance Coverage
    Amount: $ 47,541
    Dates: February 1997 to June 1997
    ID#:  031290

  • Education Program on Children's Health Coverage
    Amount: $ 174,623
    Dates: August 1997 to September 1998
    ID#:  032283

Contact

Edward F. Howard, J.D.
(202) 466-5626
edhoward@allhealth.org

Web Site

http://www.allhealth.org

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Advisory Panel for Issue Briefs

Judy Feder, Editor
Dean, Graduate Public Policy Institute
Institute for Health Care Research and Policy
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

Stan Dorn
Director of Health
Children's Defense Fund
Washington, D.C.

Paul Fronstin
Research Associate
Employee Benefits Research Institute
Washington, D.C.

Margaret McManus
President
McManus Health Policy
Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth (Jackie) Noyes
Director
American Academy of Pediatrics
Washington, D.C.

Sara Rosenbaum
Director
Center for Health Policy Research
George Washington University
Washington, D.C.

Judith Whang
Senior Program Officer
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Princeton, N.J.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Issue Briefs

Health Coverage 1997: Insuring America's Children. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform, 1997. Over 10,000 distributed; several thousand requested to August 1999.

Health Coverage: Outreach to Uninsured Kids. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform, 1998. 6,000 copies distributed to September 1998.

Reporter's Source List: Children's Health Care Issues — Selected National and State Contacts. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform, 1998. 3,000 copies distributed to September 1998.

News Conferences and Briefings

"Insuring Kids: Can We Give a Boost to Working Families Without Busting the Federal Budget?" a two-hour briefing. Washington, D.C., March 21, 1997. Attended by close to 200 people, half of whom were congressional staff or members of the print and broadcast media. Moderated by Senator Jay Rockefeller, with the participation of Senator Bill Frist. Panelists included:

  • Sarah Shuptrine, Director, Southern Institute on Children and Families
  • Celinda Lake, Lake Sosin Snell and Associates
  • Judith Arnold, New York State Department of Health
  • Deborah Steelman, former chair, Social Security Advisory Council on Medicare and Social Security

"$24 Billion for Kids Health Coverage : What's Next?" a two-hour briefing. Washington, D.C., August 8, 1997. Attended by 225 individuals from nearly as many organizations and congressional offices, including the House Budget Committee, Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, and Senate Finance Committee, along with numerous House and Senate offices. Press representatives included reporters from The Los Angeles Times, "Bloomberg News," "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," Reuters, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and numerous trade publications. National organizations represented included the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Child Advocates, National Governors Association, and Institute of Medicine. Broadcast nationally on C-SPAN. Moderated by Ed Howard of the Alliance for Health Reform. Panelists included:

  • Howard Cohen, House Committee on Commerce
  • Jeanne Lambrew, White House Office of Health Policy
  • Kathleen Means, Healthcare Leadership Council
  • Stan Dorn, Director of Health, Children's Defense Fund

"Kids Coverage: The Choices States Will Make in 1998," 90-minute briefing. Washington, D.C., December 15, 1997. Attended by approximately 35 journalists, on state strategies under consideration for spending the $24 billion allocated by SCHIP for expanding children's health coverage. Media represented included USA Today, Hartford Courant, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Times, "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," and National Public Radio. Moderated by Ed Howard of the Alliance for Health Reform. Panelists included:

  • David Helms, Alpha Center
  • John Hurson, Maryland House of Delegates
  • Lesley Cummings, California Department of Health Services

"Reach Out and Cover Someone Young: A Look at How Government and the Private Sector Are Working to Enroll Eligible Children Without Health Insurance," one and three-quarter hour briefing. Washington, D.C., May 27, 1998. Attended by approximately 150 individuals, including congressional staff representing numerous Senate and House offices, the Senate Finance Committee, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, and General Accounting Office. Media represented included the Congressional Quarterly, The New York Times, and The Columbus Dispatch. National organizations represented included Kaiser Permanente, American Hospital Association, Heritage Foundation, and National Association of Children's Hospitals. Moderated by Ed Howard of the Alliance for Health Reform. Panelists included:

  • Debbie Chang, Health Care Financing Administration
  • Ray Hanley, Medicaid Director, State of Arkansas
  • Trish Riley, National Academy for State Health Policy

"Health Insurance for Kids Who Lack It: An Update," 90-minute briefing. Washington, D.C., July 6, 1998. Attended by more than 50 reporters; televised live by C-SPAN; reporters from around the country participated by listening and calling in to ask questions. Covered by Fox News TV, Conus TV, Bloomberg TV, and ABC Radio news, along with The New York Times, Detroit News, New Orleans Times-Picayune, and Hearst News. Moderated by Senator Jay Rockefeller. Panelists included:

  • Joy Johnson Wilson, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Elizabeth (Jackie) Noyes, Director, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Sarah Shuptrine, Director, Southern Institute on Children and Families

World Wide Web Sites

www.allhealth.org. Includes a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on children's coverage issues, the Reporter's Source List: Children's Health Care Issues Selected National and State Contacts, as well as information about other publications, news releases on Alliance-sponsored events, and links to other health policy sites. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform.

Audio-Visuals and Computer Software

$24 Billion for Kids Health Coverage: What's Next?, a 120-minute audiotape. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform, 1997. 12 copies distributed to date.

Kids Coverage: The Choices States Will Make in 1998, a 120-minute audiotape. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform, 1998. 12 copies distributed to date.

Reach Out and Cover Someone Young: A Look at How Government and the Private Sector Are Working to Enroll Eligible Children Without Health Insurance, a 120-minute audiotape. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform, 1998. 11 copies distributed to date.

Health Insurance for Kids Who Lack It: An Update, a 120-minute audiotape. Washington, D.C.: Alliance for Health Reform, 1998. 15 copies distributed to date.

Press Kits and News Releases

An announcement of the briefing titled "$24 Billion for Kids Health Coverage: What's Next?," distributed on August 1, 1997, to approximately 2,500 individuals and organizations.

A "Dear Colleague" letter from Senators Rockefeller and Frist announcing the briefing titled "$24 Billion for Kids Health Coverage: What's Next?," delivered on August 5, 1997, to all House and Senate offices.

An announcement of the press briefing titled Kids Coverage: The Choices States Will Make in 1998, distributed on December 8, 1997, to approximately 500 journalists.

A "Dear Colleague" letter from Senators Rockefeller and Frist announcing the briefing "Reach Out and Cover Someone Young: A Look at How Government and the Private Sector Are Working to Enroll Eligible Children Without Health Insurance," delivered on May 19, 1998, to all House and Senate offices.

An announcement of the briefing titled "Reach Out and Cover Someone Young: A Look at How Government and the Private Sector Are Working to Enroll Eligible Children Without Health Insurance," along with the issue brief on outreach, distributed on May 20, 1998, to nearly 2,500 people.

An announcement of the press briefing, titled "Health Insurance for Kids Who Lack It: An Update," distributed at the end of June 1998, to 500 journalists in the Washington area inviting attendance, and to nearly 500 journalists across the country inviting participation in a telephone hook-up.

Packets of background materials were distributed to participants at each of the press briefings.

Print Coverage

"States Frustrated by Curb on Kid's Coverage Outreach," in Medicine & Health, December 15, 1997.

"Ohio Spreads Word on Medicaid," in The Columbus Dispatch, May 29, 1998.

"Senate Likely Would Reject Any Proposed Medicaid Cuts, Sen. Rockefeller Says; SCHIP Implementation on Track, Advocates Say at Alliance for Health Reform Briefing," in Health News Daily, July 7, 1998.

"Rockefeller Boosts Health Insurance for Children," in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 7, 1998.

"SCHIP Approvals Rolling; Startup Hurdles Expected," in Medicine & Health, July 13, 1998.

Television Coverage

"$24 Billion for Kids Health Coverage: What's Next?," televised press briefing. C-SPAN, August 8, 1997 (rebroadcast for several days thereafter).

"Health Insurance for Kids Who Lack It: An Update," televised press briefing. C-SPAN, July 6, 1998 (rebroadcast for several days thereafter).

Radio Coverage

"Health Insurance for Kids Who Lack It: An Update," radio-broadcast press briefing. C-SPAN Radio, July 6, 1998.

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Report prepared by: Marsha E. Kalman
Reviewed by: Robert Narus
Reviewed by: Janet Heroux
Program Officer: Judith Y. Whang
Program Officer: Pamela S. Dickson

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