FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement by Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, On Senate Vote on H.R. 3963, Legislation to Reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program
In January, the President offered a proposal to insure millions of Americans who currently lack health insurance coverage – a plan that would cover nearly 20 million people. But, instead of considering its merits, Congress called it “dead on arrival.”
In the meantime, Democrats in Congress have offered no comprehensive plan or alternative to help Americans obtain health coverage. This despite the fact that 47 million Americans lack health insurance, according to another study released today. Apparently the Democrats prefer to continue playing politics with a program meant for low-income children in an effort to move two million Americans from private insurance to public assistance.
Despite their claims to the contrary, the legislation rammed through the House last week by Democrats and passed by the Senate today would only cover 3.8 million people without insurance. It does nothing to truly address the problem of the uninsured in this nation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the President’s plan would cover far more people at a much lower cost than the proposed expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Since February, the President has been calling for a 20 percent increase in funding for SCHIP. He has consistently urged lawmakers to put poor children first, as the program was originally intended to do. Today Democrats in Congress have again failed to do that, passing another deeply flawed bill that they know the President will veto.
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Last revised: January 20, 2009