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PhRMA Statement on Expansion of SCHIP

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO Billy Tauzin issued the following statement today regarding the State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act:

"President Obama's signing into law an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) marks a tremendous victory for millions of low-income, uninsured American families and, indeed, for all Americans -- for we are the friends and neighbors of those who will be helped.

"SCHIP is a vital resource for children and families across America and has provided high-quality, comprehensive health insurance coverage to more than seven million low-income children in the past year alone. It provides children important access to quality health care and, with it, peace of mind for their families. That's why PhRMA has long supported reauthorization of SCHIP, and that's why we are pleased that it has been signed into law.

"What's more, the bill signed by President Obama will extend access to SCHIP coverage to an additional 4.1 million children who would otherwise be uninsured. This is an important step toward the goal of helping all American children have access to the high-quality, affordable health care they need.

"In fact, a recent announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services shows how effective SCHIP is at providing care to low-income children. According to HHS, 7.4 million children were enrolled in SCHIP in 2008, a 4 percent increase over the previous year.

"This is important progress, as a healthy child is more likely to be a healthy adult, and SCHIP provides essential resources to keep children healthy.

"Such challenges will only increase in the future if we don't take steps to confront it now. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the share of children who are overweight has more than tripled in the U.S. over the last three decades. Other estimates suggest that by 2015, 24 percent of children in the U.S. will be overweight or obese. This reality leads to additional problems: a recent study predicted that one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes over the course of his or her life.

"That's why PhRMA is a proud member of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, and that's why we applaud the efforts of Congress and President Obama to make this victory happen. Every child deserves a chance to be healthy, and SCHIP will help to provide that opportunity."

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $44.5 billion in 2007 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $58.8 billion in 2007.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
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