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Church Groups Rally to Enroll More Children in KidCare

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-922194.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has challenged states to enroll more children in subsidized health insurance programs. On Friday, as she released a report showing Florida one of the top three states for uninsured kids, a coalition of church groups voiced their support in the Capitol Courtyard. Margie Menzel reports.

Roughly 7.3 million U.S. children were uninsured on an average day in 2008, although 65 percent of them were eligible for subsidized coverage. Now a federation of churches, PICO Florida, is working to enroll the state's more than 500,000 eligible but uninsured children. Reverend Kevin Thorpe of Gainesville's Open Door Baptist Church on the Old Capitol steps:

"We believe that the Biblical calling to plead the cause of the poor and needy is just as real for us today as it was millennia ago," he said. "Their burden is not theirs alone. When a growing segment of our neighbors cannot care for their families, the cost to the whole community is great. Kids can't wait."

Health insurance is available to children in families with incomes up to about $45,000 per year in nearly every state. Yet an estimated five million youngsters are eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program without being enrolled.