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Shameful Votes Today on Children's Health Care by Reps. John Peterson, Joe Pitts and Bill Shuster

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William George expressed his appreciation to the 16 members of Pennsylvania's U.S. House Delegation who voted in favor of overriding President Bush's veto of H.R. 976, the Children's Health Insurance Program Act of 2007. President George also voiced disappointment with the three Republican House members from Pennsylvania who supported the President's veto, against providing health insurance for the growing number of uninsured children of working families in Pennsylvania and the nation.

"It is hard to fathom why anyone would vote for President Bush's veto of children's health insurance -- and Representatives John Peterson, Joe Pitts, and Bill Shuster's decision to not override that veto -- is just plain shameful," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Bill George stated.

"In the richest country in the world, nearly 10 million kids have no health insurance. That is disgraceful. Our health care system is clearly broken," George said.

"The cost of health insurance premiums is rising at nearly twice the size of the average worker's paycheck. Businesses are throwing up their hands and saying they can't afford to cover any of their employees anymore. Already there are 301,000 children in Pennsylvania who don't have health insurance," he said.

"The State Children's Health Insurance Program has been one of the few bright spots in this health care picture. If the compromise bill passed 178,000 kids in our state would have health insurance. That's why the compromise bill passed by the House and Senate got substantial Republican as well as Democratic support," George said.

"The President's veto represents an extreme position. At a time when the President is asking for $200 billion dollars to keep funding his failed war in Iraq, it is hard to understand why he wouldn't support spending $35 billion over six years for something that actually works," George said.

Studies have shown that children enrolled in SCHIP have seen notable improvements in their health. Kids have gotten healthier and with preventive services they've stayed healthier. For example, children with coverage are having fewer asthma attacks and therefore winding up in the (expensive) emergency room a lot less. Studies have even shown improvement in school performance for kids covered under the program.

"Better health means fewer costly medications, procedures, and trips to the emergency room. Better school performance means better jobs and a competitive edge in the global economy," George declared.

"But the single most important reason to expand the State Children's Health Insurance is simply that it is the right thing to do. We have a moral obligation to take care of our children," George continued.

"When Representatives Peterson, Pitts, and Shuster voted not to override President Bush's veto of health care for kids, they voted against our children. We will not forget this vote," George concluded.

SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
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