March 2, 2009
Senate Human Services Committee
HB 1478

Madame Chair Lee and Members of the Committee:

Good morning, my name is Caitlin McDonald, and I am the Healthcare Advocate for the North Dakota Catholic Conference. We support HB 1478 and request a do pass recommendation.

This bill as passed by the House aims to increase the eligibility level for the State’s Children Health Insurance Program, or Healthy Steps, from the current rate of 150% of the poverty level to 160% of the poverty level. The North Dakota Catholic Conference believes that increasing the eligibility level of SCHIP is an action that furthers the common good and helps protect the inherent dignity of all persons. While we feel the 200% is a more comprehensive attempt at covering children, the 160% is a step in the right direction.

All children deserve affordable healthcare, and there are currently 14,000 children in North Dakota that are uninsured. Expanding the current SCHIP program is a good step forward for North Dakota. Please consider a Do Pass on HB 1478. I thank you for your time and consideration.