Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that states and local organizations can apply for $40 million worth of outreach grants "to enroll more eligible children in health-insurance programs," according to the Wall Street Journal. "The grants will allow state and local governments and a wide variety of community groups to keep seven million children enrolled in state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs and to add four million additional children who are eligible but not yet enrolled in health care, Sebelius said during a conference call." She also said projects that target under-served populations, including those in rural areas, will be given priority. "'These grants come at a very important time,' Sebelius said, pointing to last week's news that the nation's unemployment rate has reached 9.5%. 'When parents lose their jobs, they often lose health coverage for themselves and their children.'"
Funds to support the grants come from the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which was signed by President Obama in February. "In total, $100 million of grants will be made available for outreach programs over the next four years" (Peterson, 7/06).