Senate Democrats

Arkansas’ Children Welcome You, Mr. Bush

Today, President Bush will be traveling to Arkansas to tour a packaging plant and deliver a speech on the budget.  Having recently vetoed the bi-partisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization bill, the President actually owes the 88,000 children insured by this program in Arkansas an explanation as to why he wants to place their health care at risk. 

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe denounced the President’s actions, stating:

“This veto is a disappointment to the tens of thousands of Arkansas families who rely on SCHIP to provide health care for their children through the ARKids First program. I urge Congress to override this veto and keep these vital health-care services in place for Arkansans.”

Arkansas’ CHIP program has provided coverage for tens of thousands of children:

Currently More Than 88,000 Kids in Arkansas Receive Health Care Coverage Under “ARKids First,” The State’s CHIP Program. According to news reports, more than 88,000 children receive health care coverage under ARKids B, the federally funded portion of the state’s insurance program. [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 9/14/07]

* According to One Estimate, 41,000 More Arkansas Children Could Receive Coverage Under the Compromise Bill President Bush Vetoed. According to analysis conducted by Families USA, 41,000 kids in Arkansas, who would otherwise be uninsured, could receive coverage under the bi-partisan CHIP measure President Bush vetoed.  [Families USA, 9/26/07]

Number of Uninsured Children In Arkansas Dropped from 23 to 10 Percent with ARKids First.  In a radio address, the Governor Beebe said CHIP dollars allowed Arkansas to create the ARKids First program and help reduce the state’s population of uninsured children from 23 percent to 10 percent over the past 10 years. [Arkansas News Bureau, 7/28/07]

* Sen. Blanche Lincoln Calls Arkansas a ‘National Leader’ in Covering Uninsured Children.  “As a result of ARKids First, which is funded by SCHIP, and other initiatives, Arkansas has been a national leader in reducing its ranks of uninsured children, from over twenty percent in 1997 to ten percent today.” [Sen. Blanche Lincoln News Release, 9/13/07]

Araksas’ program has broad support at the state and federal level:

The President of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Is a Strong Supporter of Bi-Partisan CHIP Measure. “‘Renewal of the SCHIP legislation is critical because we as parents, lawmakers, physicians, Americans – have a responsibility to these children to do everything we can to ensure they have quality health insurance. We cannot turn our backs on their medical needs. They are our future and by not providing for them, we’re also hurting ourselves,’ said Jonathan Bates, M.D., president and CEO, Arkansas Children’s Hospital.” [Sen. Blanche Lincoln News Release, 9/13/07

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe Pled for the Override of President Bush’s Veto. “This veto is a disappointment to the tens of thousands of Arkansas families who rely on SCHIP to provide health care for their children through the ARKids First program. I urge Congress to override this veto and keep these vital health-care services in place for Arkansans. We currently have about 80,000 Arkansas children whose only option for health care comes from this federal assistance. While the services provided by ARKids First will remain intact for the immediate future, federal assistance must be sustained to ensure the long-term care of these children. ARKids First has made exceptional strides in improving Arkansas health care over the past ten years, and now is not the time for the federal government to cut off this critical support.” [Gov. Beebe Statement, 10/3/07]  

Sen. Blanche Lincoln Strongly Repudiated Bush’s Veto of CHIP.  “U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln on Thursday blasted President Bush for his claim that Democrats put a federal children’s health program at risk, calling his comments Thursday outrageous and absurd.  Lincoln, more known for hugging constituents than angry retorts, dismissed Bush’s contention that Democrats’ actions would doom the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, set to expire Sept. 30. Speaking to reporters on a conference call Thursday, Lincoln described the bill calling for a $35 billion spending increase as a ‘solid bipartisan effort.’ ‘This is an issue where politics should be checked at the door, and there was no room for politics on this,’ Lincoln said. ‘What the president has offered us is $5 billion $5 billion doesn’t even cover the children now under SCHIP.’” [AP, 9/21/07] 

Sen. Mark Pryor Worried About ARKids’ Future in The Wake of Bush Veto.  “I am very concerned that the President Bush’s veto today signals that he is out of touch with the needs of working Arkansans.  Congress passed a critical bill that ensures millions of parents can bring sick children to the doctor and get them the care and medicine necessary for a healthier future.  I am committed to working with senators on both sides of the aisle to override the President’s veto. Our children’s future should be this nation’s top priority. Today, the President has shown their health is not a priority for him.” [Sen. Pryor News Release, 10/3/07]

Bookmark and Share