The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. Although the majority of Americans are covered by some form of health insurance, families nevertheless lack protection against the high cost of chronic or single episodes of serious illness that may destroy their resources. An illness resulting in this potentially devastating financial consequence is referred to as a catastrophic illness.
b. Catastrophic illnesses often threaten to push some families into bankruptcy and others toward seeking inferior medical care and present a major problem for this nation's health care system in that catastrophic illnesses account for over 20% of this nation's health expenditures.
c. The impact of catastrophic illnesses on the family is especially acute in that children have the highest average medical costs among the population as a whole.
d. It is the public policy of this State that each child of this State should have access to quality health care and adequate protection against the extraordinarily high costs of health care services which are determined to be catastrophic and severely impact upon a child and his family.
e. To this end, it is incumbent upon the State to provide assistance to children and their families whose medical expenses extend beyond the families' available resources.
L. 1987,c.370, s.1.