Statement by Christine James-Brown, President and a CEO, Child Welfare League of America on President Bush's Veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization
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October 3, 2007, Arlington, VA -- The president made a very serious blunder today when he vetoed a bipartisan compromise bill that would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP or CHIP). For ten years, CHIP has served as Medicaid's essential companion, providing much needed coverage to over six million children, including children in lower income at-risk families and children transitioning out of foster care. Congress has been working diligently to improve upon CHIP's initial success and was able to meet in the middle on a $35 billion increase in funding over five years so that close to four million children--most of whom are already eligible, but not yet enrolled for CHIP or Medicaid could be encompassed.
By vetoing CHIP, the President has placed his ideological concerns at the top of his agenda, while leaving children and their health care needs behind. While the President would like the public to believe that the bill expands eligibility limits and moves towards "government-run health care," those statements are simply not true. He appears to ignore research from the Congressional Budget Office and others on how his actions will cause millions of children to go without health insurance. He is also ignoring the fact that 72% of Americans support Congress's reauthorization plan.
It is an utter shame that such a wonderful opportunity to advance a successful bipartisan program like CHIP that would protect the health of our nation's children has been dealt a setback by the President. CWLA pledges to continue working with members of Congress to override the President's veto. We hope that those few opposing the CHIP bill will realize that these are not just numbers--but behind the numbers are the many faces of children with stories and with significant physical and mental health needs who are in desperate need of coverage.
Since 1920, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has been the nation's pre-eminent organization dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable children are protected from harm and have the tools and resources they need to grow into the healthy and happy adults we want them to become. CWLA is the trusted authority for professionals who work with children and the only national organization with members from both public and private agencies, providing unique access and influence to all sectors of the children's services field.
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