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Illinois AARP Presses for Expansion of Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

Legislation Aims to Help States' Uninsured Children by Increasing Tobacco Tax -- Passed House, Senate Passage Expected, Presidential Veto Looms

CHICAGO, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/USNewswire/ -- The end of the month may find millions of children across the nation facing the same problem as a growing number of adults -- no health insurance. The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expires on September 30th; exposing children to the soaring costs of health care, leaving many families unable to afford the insurance they need for their children to stay healthy.

AARP stands in strong support of legislation passed by the House and expected to pass the Senate this week to reauthorize and strengthen SCHIP. President Bush has indicated he would veto the measure that serves to expand SCHIP to cover more children through an increase in the tobacco tax.

"SCHIP serves as a critical building block and helping hand to not just Illinois children, but to millions of children across the nation -- affordable quality health care doesn't have to be unattainable," said Bob Gallo, State Director for AARP Illinois. "AARP Illinois is urging our 1.7 million members, the public and our state and federal lawmakers to make this issue a priority."

In Illinois, SCHIP helps over 150,000 children have affordable access to health insurance -- across the nation the funds helped states cover over 6.5 million children. AARP Illinois is joining efforts across the nation in pressing for SCHIP to not only be renewed, but expanded to help more children in need.

"Ensuring that all age groups, including children, have affordable health care coverage is essential for our country's future and a priority for AARP," said Bob Gallo, State Director for AARP Illinois. "SCHIP is particularly important for many grandparents raising their grandchildren, who are oftentimes living on limited incomes and otherwise unable to afford health insurance."

AARP has over 1.7 million members in Illinois. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; Segunda Juventud, our quarterly newspaper in Spanish; Live and Learn, our quarterly newsletter for National Retired Teachers Association members; and our web site, We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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