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American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Reacts to S-CHIP Veto

Veto Will Deprive Six Million American Children of Healthcare Services

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry strongly urges Congress to override President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (H.R. 976) act.

The House passed the S-CHIP bill by a 265-159 margin. This vote margin is not large enough to override the President's veto. The Senate passed the measure by a 67-29 margin.

"Without this program, too many American children will go without basic health services and access to necessary mental health care," said AACAP President Thomas F. Anders, M.D., "It's irresponsible and reckless to the six million American children who count on S-CHIP," said Dr. Anders.

This bill establishes parity for mental health benefits in S-CHIP plans. It would also provide a six-month moratorium on the Bush Administration's effort to restrict Medicaid rehabilitative services and school-based services, as outlined in the President's fiscal year 2008 budget proposal and proposed regulations released by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

The S-CHIP program empowers states to provide expanded healthcare coverage for children who would not otherwise qualify for Medicaid. It would provide states $35 billion over five years.

"S-CHIP actually saves money by promoting prevention, early intervention and continuity of care. It is also 31 percent less expensive than comparable coverage provided by private insurance plans." said Dr. Anders. "Not renewing S-CHIP is incredibly shortsighted."

"This is a terrible blow to so many kids in West Virginia," said Siham Muntasser, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist who practices in Morgantown, West Virginia. "Thousands of kids here depend on the S-CHIP card for basic health services and access to critical mental health care."

The AACAP strongly urges individuals to contact their Representatives to support this legislation during the veto override vote expected to take place next week. For more information, see the Legislative Action section of the AACAP Web site,

Representing over 8,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children's mental health.

Mission of the AACAP

Promote mentally healthy children, adolescents and families through research, training, advocacy, prevention, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment, peer support and collaboration.

SOURCE American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
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