WASHINGTON – Late last night the Senate adopted Senator John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) amendment to the Children Health Insurance Program legislation that will create a governmental task force to enroll more children in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Kerry’s provision requires the Small Business Administration (SBA) to team with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Labor to educate small business owners, employees and the self-employed about the eligibility and enrollment requirements for SCHIP.

“The government ought to be leading the way to get all of America’s children the health coverage they need. Unfortunately more than two million kids are eligible for SCHIP, but they aren’t yet enrolled, and many of them are the children of small business employees or the self-employed,” said Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “There’s a role here for the SBA and all of their resource partners to step up to the plate and reverse that dynamic.”

Kerry’s amendment:

  • Establishes an Intergovernmental Task Force to conduct a nationwide campaign of education and outreach for small businesses regarding the availability of coverage through SCHIP and/or other private insurance options;
  • Encourages the use of SBA’s business partners, including Small Business Development Centers, Certified Development Companies, Women Business Centers, and SCORE, as well as private and non-profit groups;
  • Creates a hotline to be operated for small businesses to call with questions about SCHIP eligibility and enrollment; and
  • Requires SBA to provide prominent online access to information on eligibility and enrollment requirements.