“ In passing the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 last night without weakening amendments, the Senate helped ensure that children and families will have access to the basic health services they need. This bill is important not just for children, not just for families, but also for our economic recovery. In order to give families real economic security, we have to reform health care and that begins by covering children.
Since 1997, this program has been a vital lifeline for low-income children in working families whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase private health insurance. It has reduced the number of uninsured children in America by more than one-quarter, giving millions of kids improved access and better health outcomes.
We are especially pleased that the final bill maintains important provisions from last year’s legislation designed to improve health care quality by working with states to strengthen quality improvement efforts, and develop additional quality measures appropriate for pediatric care. We also are pleased that:
Congress removed a callous and counter-productive provision that created a five-year waiting period for legal immigrant children to be covered under this bill; and
The Senate rejected multiple anti-reproductive health amendments, including amendments to codify the “unborn child” regulation and to reimpose the global gag rule, lifted just last week by President Obama.
We regret that the ‘cit doc’ requirements, which create bureaucratic barriers that keep eligible children off the roles, remains in the bill. Still, we look forward to President Obama signing the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 into law very soon.”