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PA Advocates Ask President Bush, 'What about the Kids??'
Date:10/3/2007

Children's Advocates Disappointed with Veto of Federal State Children's

Health Insurance (SCHIP) Bill

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) and Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) today expressed deep disappointment with President Bush's veto of the bipartisan Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. The bill, passed by the House and Senate last week, provides health insurance for 10 million children nationwide whose families cannot afford employer-sponsored health plans, but who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. More than 164,000 Pennsylvania children rely on CHIP for health care coverage.

Pres. Bush said he vetoed the bill on the grounds it is "socialized medicine" and would cause people in the private sector to switch to government-sponsored insurance. But in Pennsylvania and in many other states, private insurance companies serve as contractors to provide the coverage. In addition, Pennsylvania's CHIP expansion last year has not resulted in children leaving private health insurance plans. "The decline in private insurance is due to increasing costs and the reduced ability of families and employers to obtain affordable private coverage," said Alisa Simon, health policy director of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth, "blaming CHIP and punishing children for a broader economic trend is the wrong tactic."

There are approximately nine million uninsured children nationwide and 133,000 children without insurance in Pennsylvania. The vetoed bill would have helped the Commonwealth reach this population. Insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and other members of the health care system supported the measure. In addition, recent polling indicated that the public strongly supported the measure. As well as governors, Republican and Democrats alike, who have expressed support for the measure.

"I do not understand how the President could veto this bill with such strong support across the board," said Joan Benso, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. "It seems unfathomable to deny the will of the people -and leave millions of children vulnerable to a medical disaster."

The bipartisan measure was passed by Congress last week with strong support on both sides of the aisle. Eighteen of Pennsylvania's 21-member congressional delegation voted in favor of the legislation. " We are proud that the vast majority of our congressional delegation put partisan politics aside and supported the measure. These Representatives and Senators deserve high praise for their work on behalf of children's health. We now need them to stand tall again and override the veto," said Benso.

More information can be obtained by contacting Kathy Geller Myers, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, at 717-236-5680; kgmyers@papartnerships.org; http://www.papartnerships.org, or by calling Alisa Simon at Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth, at 215-563-5848; alisasimon@pccy.org: http://www.pccy.org.


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
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