Press Statement
Women’s Health Leader Urges Speedy Passage Of Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009

“I want to thank Senators Baucus, Stabenow and Menendez for their tireless and effective leadership on this issue.  The bill the Senate is considering this week is absolutely critical not just to children, not just to families, but also to our economic recovery.  In order to give families real economic security, we have to reform health care — and that begins by covering children.

H.R. 2, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, builds on a success — the strong, bipartisan legislation that has worked well for more than a decade.  Since 1997, CHIP 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.

The children’s health program has reduced the number of uninsured children in America by more than one-quarter, giving millions of kids improved access and better health outcomes.  Americans recognize that success.  In poll after poll, they express overwhelming support for the CHIP program.

At a time when nine million children are without insurance, more families are losing coverage every day, and health care costs are unmanageable for millions, we need to continue and strengthen this program.  CHIP is essential to helping ensure that children and families have access to the basic health care services they need.

Watching the CHIP debate unfold over the last few days brings to mind President Obama’s eloquent Inauguration address.  He urged the nation to put aside “childish things” and instead focus on what was right for the future of America.  He was right.

Doing what the President asks begins by refusing to sacrifice our children’s health by taking cheap shots at immigrant families.  This legislation does the right thing by eliminating the current five-year waiting period for legal immigrant children.

Doing what’s right means eliminating the bureaucratic barriers that prevent hard-working families from getting the health care they need.  The “cit doc” requirements do nothing but keep eligible children off the roles.  They should be removed from this bill.

Doing what’s right, and putting America’s families first, begins with setting aside petty debates of the past. 

The women of America are ready to do what’s right.  We are the primary caregivers for our families.  We struggle to save on groceries so we can afford the drugs our children need.  We sacrifice job security to take our sons and daughters to the doctor during the work day.  We put our health and well-being at risk by staying up all night to care for sick kids and caring for aging parents beset by multiple chronic conditions.

I say to the United States Senate:  The women of America are ready to set aside childish things.  Now it’s your turn.  Do what’s right.  End this debate, and help America’s children and families by passing the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. 

Thank you.”

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