Washington, DC—Democratic Senators and educators held a press conference today to discuss the importance of children’s health care and how poor healthcare not only affects children’s physical wellbeing, but has drastic effects on their education and ability to succeed later in life. Democrats are urging the President to drop his irresponsible veto threat and join the 43 Governors, 68 Senators, bipartisan majority of Congress and millions of uninsured children who recognize how important it is to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program before it expires on Sunday.
Senate Democrats also announced an online petition urging President Bush to move away from his veto threats and actually sign the bipartisan CHIP legislation. The petition is on the Senate Democrats’ website at www.democrats.senate.gov/chip_petition/.
“I hope the President rethinks his veto threat,” said Senator John Kerry. “The CHIP program has broad bipartisan support and deserves his support. On behalf of million of American families across the country who want him to put kids first, I appeal to President Bush to protect children’s health care.”
Said Senator Jack Reed: “If the President wants to prevent children in the United States from getting quality health care, that’s his choice. But if his veto is sustained, then it will be another failure to keep faith with the basic notion of this country – opportunity for all. The CHIP program has demonstrated tremendous success over the past decade. Instead of vetoing children’s healthcare, the President should join us in providing America’s children with health insurance and a foundation for good health and education.”
“There is only one thing standing between improving the successful Children’s Health Insurance Program and covering millions of uninsured children and that is a Presidential signature,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “We need to hold the President accountable for saying no to providing coverage for over ten million uninsured American children.”
Said Senator Sherrod Brown: “I wish the president could meet the children and parents I talked to in Ohio. Sure, it would be ideal for private insurance to cover these children, but it doesn’t. That is why we need the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”
“Ignoring the health needs of America’s children – all of America’s children – is unacceptable and is a breach in our fundamental responsibility to safeguard their welfare,” said Chandrai Jackson-Saunders, a psychologist in the District of Columbia Public School System. “Student health and wellbeing are necessary to student success and directly impacts their learning and development. Children cannot learn effectively if they are struggling with physical or mental-health issues.”
Said Glenn Schmidt, a teach in Sun Prairie, Wisc.: “As an educator, I know firsthand that this bill is key to making sure our children come to school prepared and ready to learn. We can’t expect students to do their best in the classroom when they aren’t healthy. On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association, I commend Congress for passing this bill and urge the President to sign it.”