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In a sharp exchange with John Edwards during a Jan. 5, 2008, debate in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton made the case that she has a well-established record of fighting for change. She pointed to her role in starting the State Children's Health Insurance Program, called SCHIP. The program, created in 1997, promotes health coverage for children by providing federal funding to states. The states then put up their own money and set rules to provide care for uninsured children.
"There are 7,000 kids in New Hampshire who have health care because I helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program," Clinton said.
Clinton's number is correct. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that in June 2006, there were 7,688 children enrolled in SCHIP in New Hampshire.
Clinton is also on solid ground saying that she helped to create SCHIP. Much of the credit for SCHIP usually goes to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who shepherded the legislation through a Republican-controlled Congress. But the Clinton campaign has said previously that she used her influence behind the scenes to push for SCHIP, and there is evidence to support that.
Soon after the legislation passed, the New York Times reported, "Participants in the campaign for the health bill both on and off Capitol Hill said the first lady had played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in lining up White House support."
In a previous campaign ad, Clinton claimed credit for SCHIP without any qualifiers, and we found that contention Half True, given the other people who had a hand in passing the legislation. (See that ruling here .) But in this case, she accurately said she helped to create SCHIP (as in she wasn't the only one), and she got the number right on how many children are enrolled in New Hampshire. For these reasons, we rate Clinton's statement True.
The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, SCHIP Turns 10: An Update on Enrollment and the Outlook on Reauthorization from the Program's Directors , May 2007
New York Times, Through Senate Alchemy, Tobacco Is Turned Into Gold for Children's Health , by Jerry Gray, Aug. 11, 1997
Associated Press, Clinton claims credit for child program , by Beth Fouhy, Oct. 6, 2007
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