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'President's Veto of SCHIP Bill Rooted in Misinformation'

Statement by Lawrence A. McAndrews, CEO of N.A.C.H.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Lawrence A. McAndrews, CEO of N.A.C.H.:

"While the president claims he supports the State Children's Health Insurance Program he vetoed a bipartisan SCHIP bill championed by conservative Republican leaders which would have provided health insurance to nearly 4 million uninsured children," said Lawrence A. McAndrews, president and CEO of the National Association of Children's Hospitals, an organization of 140 children's hospitals in the U.S. "The president was misguided by his own administration's misrepresentation of the bill. In viewing this veto, American families deserve to know the facts.

"The administration claims the compromise bill would cover children in families of four with incomes up to $82,600. The truth is only two states, New York and New Jersey, would be allowed to offer coverage to families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. All other states would be capped at 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

"The administration says the bill would lead to government-run, socialized medicine. The fact is nearly 80 percent of all children covered by the program are enrolled in commercial managed care and fee-for-service plans.

"The administration says the bill would encourage families to move their children from private insurance to SCHIP. Yet the Congressional Budget Office says the 'crowd-out' factor is as low as it could possibly get and even the health insurance lobby supports the bill.

"The administration claims the bill would expand government spending for children's health care. However its price tag is only a quarter of the cost of the president's proposal four years ago to expand government financed health care for the elderly.

"This veto is a major disappointment to families with children enrolled in SCHIP and the millions of other families who could have been helped by the reauthorization bill," said McAndrews. "The veto sends a clear message that children's health coverage is not the president's priority."

The National Association of Children's Hospitals (N.A.C.H.) is the public policy affiliate of the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. Representing more than 140 freestanding acute care children's hospitals, freestanding children's rehabilitation and specialty hospitals, and children's hospitals organized within larger medical centers, it addresses public policy issues affecting children's hospitals' missions of service to the children of their communities, including clinical care, education, research and advocacy.

SOURCE National Association of Children's Hospitals
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