Most children in New Jersey have health insurance. Many from lower-income families have medical coverage under NJ FamilyCare, the state’s publicly funded health insurance program. But close to 90,000 kids don’t have any coverage at all. Gov. Phil Murphy is supporting a plan make sure their families will soon be able to get it.

During a visit on Tuesday to the North Hudson Community Action Corporation in Passaic, a community where an estimated 30% of the population lives in poverty, the governor touted proposed legislation known as Cover All Kids.

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Murphy, who has included $20 million in his proposed state budget for the program, said “no child in New Jersey should be left without the support and security of health care coverage.”

He noted without health care coverage, “they cannot see a pediatrician or God forbid use an emergency room without their families wondering how the bill is going to be paid. These fears are especially palpable among our immigrant communities.”

The governor said with a $20 million first-time investment, health coverage could be extended to 53,000 children next year and even more the next year.

Phase 1 of the Cover All Kids initiative eliminates the 90-day waiting period for coverage to children newly enrolling into the Children Health’s Insurance Program, while removing premiums families would pay for their children enrolled in CHIP. It would develop targeted outreach efforts to boost enrollment for currently eligible children.

Phase 2 will provide coverage options for children of unauthorized immigrants and those whose families’ incomes are over NJ FamilyCare eligibility but still find coverage unaffordable and out of reach.

The Cover All Kids legislation is being sponsored by Sen. Joe Vitale, D- Middlesex, and Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, D-Middlesex.

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