GOD REIGN PUBLISHING
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 NEW....MED

Gerry M. Kaye

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"STATES MAY CALL THE FETUS AN UNBORN CHILD"

Jan.31, 2002.  In a news release on Thursday, the Bush Administration said that a developing fetus may be classified by the states as an unborn child, eligible for government health care, that would provide low income families new access to prenatal care.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson stated that "Prenatal care for women and their babies is a crucial part of the medical care every person should have through the course of their life cycle. Prenatal services can be a vital, lifelong determinant of health, and we should do everything we can to make this care available for all pregnant women."

Under the State Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP will make a fetus eligible for health care that has not been generally available to pregnant parents under the Plan.

Currently, some states can already cover pregnant women under the health program, requesting specific permission from HHS, since CHIP was designed mainly for children.

To those states that administer CHIP would be the option of including fetuses in their programs. In this the mother would be eligible for prenatal and delivery care.

At the time last summer, when Administration officials were considering this policy change, the National Governors Association cautioned HHS that while some states would embrace the new option and some would reject it, other states would face divisive decisions before accepting the changes to the Plan.

After it is published in the Federal Register and the Department makes further considerations, the new policy could be in effect.

Thompson also said in his statement on Thursday that he also supports legislation pending in the Senate that would allow states to automatically add pregnant women to CHIP; and that automatically including the fetus is the quickest way to get prenatal services to the most women and an excellent way of more expeditiously expanding health coverage to those without insurance.

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