NLC Selects 22 Cities for Leadership Academies on Expanding Access to Health Care for Children and Families

June 10, 2013

By Chuan Teng

NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families has selected 22 cities to participate in two regional leadership academies focused on the development of citywide outreach campaigns that connect children and families with affordable health insurance.

NLC will host the leadership academies as part of its Cities Expanding Access to Health Care for Children and Families initiative, which has been funded by a generous grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies. 

Selected cities include:

  • Aurora, Colo.;
  • Baltimore, Md.;
  • Chula Vista, Calif.;
  • Columbia, Pa.;
  • Dallas, Texas;
  • Gainesville, Fla.;
  • Garden City, Mich.;
  • Groesbeck, Texas;
  • Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Houston, Texas;
  • Jackson, Mich.;
  • Jacksonville, Fla.;
  • Las Vegas, Nev.;
  • Miami Beach, Fla.;
  • New Bedford, Mass.;
  • Newark, N.J.;
  • Omaha, Neb.;
  • Portland, Maine;
  • Providence, R.I.;
  • Savannah, Ga.;
  • Tucson, Ariz.; and
  • Wilson, N.C.

Leadership Academies

The leadership academies will take place in Denver from July 25-26 and Baltimore from September 17-18. Each selected city will be represented by a three-person team consisting of local elected officials, senior municipal staff, and other key community stakeholders. The leadership academies will be designed to strengthen cross-sector partnerships that support health benefit outreach programs. City teams will learn effective outreach and enrollment strategies from national experts and other cities that have taken steps to increase child enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

Medicaid and CHIP are the nation's two most important public health insurance programs for low-income families with children.  Although provisions in the Affordable Care Act that will subsidize the purchase of private health insurance coverage through new exchanges have garnered substantial media attention, approximately 70 percent of the nation's uninsured children currently qualify for coverage under the existing Medicaid and CHIP programs. Connecting these children with Medicaid and CHIP is critical to curbing preventable disease and helping families avoid financial crises that result from unaffordable medical bills.

Opportunities for Grants and Assistance

As part of the Cities Expanding Access to Health Care for Children and Families initiative, cities selected to participate in a leadership academy will be eligible to apply for further technical assistance and pass-through grants later this year. Through a competitive process, NLC will award grants to 8-10 cities and assist them in developing plans for increasing participation in Medicaid and CHIP. Out of this group, NLC will select six cities for the initiative's implementation phase. These cities will receive additional pass-through grants, participate in cross-site meetings of city teams, and receive ongoing site-level assistance as they launch their community outreach campaigns.

The Role of Cities in the Health Care System

Cities often play central roles within the health care system as first responders, employers, safety net providers and funders. When families lack insurance, many cities ultimately shoulder some of the health care costs of uninsured residents. Additionally, the lack of health insurance is associated with reduced access to preventive care, poor health outcomes, reduced school attendance and academic achievement and family financial instability, which all pose threats to local economic vitality and quality of life. 

To combat these problems, many cities have partnered with community stakeholders to launch broad-based outreach campaigns that connect children and families with public health insurance programs and other benefits. As participants in the leadership academies, city leaders will have a forum to learn and discuss effective strategies for connecting more children and families with health insurance coverage. 

Details:  For more information on the Cities Expanding Access to Health Care for Children and Families leadership academies and technical assistance project, contact Chuan Teng at (202) 626-3041 or teng@nlc.org.