Washington, DC— Senate Democrats held a press conference today to call on the President and House Republicans to do the right thing by enacting an improvement of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The Senators were joined by former Assistant U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Woodie Kessel, who served as an advisor on public health, health policy, and child and family health matters under eight administrations.
Democrats are committed to passing a bipartisan bill that provides 10 million children the health care they need. CHIP is a critical program as states begin to run out of money for children’s health care, and the vast majority of the American people rightly support it.
“Support for our proposal is so broad because CHIP isn’t a Republican idea or a Democratic idea,” Senator Edward M. Kennedy said. “It’s not a state program or a federal initiative. It’s not public sector or private sector. It’s all of those things, and more. CHIP is an American success story. And the children of America deserve to have that success continue.
Said Senator Bob Casey: “Large bipartisan majorities in the Congress and groups ranging from health care professionals to business leaders continue to send a strong message to President Bush to support the Children’s Health Insurance bill. He hears us, but he is not listening. This bill will have positive effect on the lives of millions of children and I urge President Bush to sign this bill into law.”
“If the President and the Republicans in Congress want to make claims that the Children’s Health Insurance Plan is too expensive and covers rich families – which is completely untrue – then they should ask themselves why they supported the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan,” Senator Claire McCaskill said. “Medicare D cost nearly ten times as much as CHIP, added to the national debt, and gave benefits to billionaires. The real reason they’re against CHIP is because big insurance companies won’t make billions off of this plan, like they did with Medicare D.”
Said Kessel: “For prevention and health promotion efforts to have their maximum benefit for the health and well-being of children and payoff in terms of resources invested, the opportune time to provide these highly effective, quality health care services is early in life – to pregnant women, infants, children, and adolescents. As a result of President Bush’s veto, 3.8 million uninsured children stand to lose critical access to physicians, immunizations, preventive care and primary medical care they so desperately need to start life healthy and reduce the human and capital burden of preventable chronic disease.”