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State Advocacy

  • We advocate for access to health care coverage.
  • One in five women of childbearing age is uninsured.
  • More than 8 million children under age 19 are uninsured.
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March of Dimes work in CHIP reauthorization 2009

On February 4, 2009, President Obama signed the Childrenís Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). This followed passage of the bill by the House of Representatives (vote of 290 - 135) and the Senate (vote of 66 to 32). CHIPRA has several provisions long championed by the March of Dimes, including expanding access to coverage for millions of uninsured children and pregnant women.

March of Dimes volunteers from across the country contacted their elected representatives to ask them for their support of the legislation. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invited a few of March of Dimes volunteers to represent the millions of families who have relied upon CHIP or Medicaid. Among them were Heather Kane and the children of Kathy Paz, who had shared her story at a press event in January.

March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer Howse was at the White House when President Obama signed the legislation into law, celebrating an important victory for the nation's children and pregnant women.

Why is health insurance important?
The March of Dimes supports access to health coverage for all women of childbearing age, infants and children. That's why the March of Dimes has championed reauthorizing and strengthening the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) since 2007.

To protect children's access to health care as we transition to a reformed health system, CHIP will increase federal support so that states have the resources they need to enroll eligible uninsured children; cover eligible pregnant women without needing a federal waiver; enroll legal immigrant children and pregnant women if they meet the program's criteria; and develop and measure the quality of pediatric care.

Have questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening with health care reform?

While some provisions take effect this September (see our In-depth article), the new law will not fully go into effect until 2014. In the interim, the March of Dimes is reviewing and commenting on the rules for implementation that are being issued by the Administration.

The March of Dimes will update this site on items that directly affect women of childbearing age, infants and children, but to get even more information about all of the advances, visit

Where can I find out about getting insurance coverage for my child?

The first place to inquire is with your state insurance commissioner's office. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a Web site to help parents determine if their children are eligible for free or low-cost health coverage under the reauthorized Children's Health Insurance Program. Visit for more information.

Why did the March of Dimes support health care reform?

Since our founding, the March of Dimes has worked to shape public policy that affects maternal and child health. Health reform offered an unparalleled opportunity to improve the health of and address the needs of women, infants and children. Specifically:

  • Expanding and improving coverage for maternity and pediatric care
  • Strengthening Medicaid (which covers more than 40% of all births)
  • Increasing the number of currently uninsured women of childbearing age and children who will be covered in 2014

By law and longstanding tradition, the March of Dimes is strictly nonpartisan and remained nonpartisan throughout the debate. Initially, we worked with members with many different views and party affiliations, but as the debate went on, we focused our energies on ensuring that legislation likely to be approved contained the strongest provisions possible to address the unique health needs of children and pregnant women.

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