MEDIA ADVISORY – Senate Health Committee To Hold Hearing At East Side High In Paterson On Uninsured Children

TRENTON – On Monday, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will hold a hearing at East Side High School in Paterson to discuss the issue of uninsured children, and a recently published report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute entitled, “Uninsured Children: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?”

“During this time of economic crisis, we have to do a better job identifying uninsured kids in our communities, and getting them access to the programs for which they’re eligible,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the Chair of the Committee. “A safety net is useless if the children it’s seeking to help fall through the holes in the net.”

According to the report published by Robert Wood Johnson and the Urban Institute, 9.5 percent of children in Paterson were uninsured in 2008 – the second highest rate in the State behind Newark – despite the fact that only 81.4 percent of eligible children in New Jersey were enrolled in Medicaid or FamilyCare at that time. In a recent article in the Bergen Record, a spokesperson for the State Department of Human Services noted that the uninsured number is likely higher now due to the effects of a national economic crisis, higher-than-ever unemployment and employers scaling back existing benefits for employees.

“I’d like to thank Chairwoman Weinberg and the Senate Health Committee for coming to our legislative district to talk about the epidemic of uninsured kids in our State,” said Senator John A. Girgenti, D-Passaic and Bergen, who will sit on the Committee for the day. “This is about making sure our State’s investment in health care access is being taken advantage of by the people who need the help the most.”

The hearing will be held in the East Side High School Auditorium, 150 Park Avenue, Paterson, New Jersey. It is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM.

NOTE TO BROADCAST MEDIA – The filming of students not participating in Monday’s Senate Health Committee hearing is prohibited, according to the school district. The prohibition does not extend to students who are in attendance at the hearing or who testify before the health panel.