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Public Statements

McConnell Reintroduces Kids First Health Care Legislation

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Location: Washington, DC


McConnell Reintroduces Kids First Health Care Legislation

‘Kids First calls for responsible expansion to cover more low-income kids'

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell reintroduced Kids First, a Republican alternative to the Democrats' vetoed State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) on Thursday. Kids First is cosponsored by 18 Senators.

"Our first priority is to ensure that poor children have the healthcare they need. We can forge a bipartisan compromise, and Republicans have an alternative that can serve as a basis," said McConnell. "Kids First calls for responsible expansion to cover more low-income kids, and to cover them first."

Kids First would reauthorize SCHIP while focusing on low-income kids who are eligible but not enrolled in the program. It would expand current coverage to include 1.3 million new low-income kids, remove non-pregnant adults from the program and strengthen premium assistance so states can use the money to keep people in private health coverage.

"In Kentucky, the Democrats' vetoed bill would provide less coverage for kids' health care in 2008 than our Kids First plan," McConnell said. "Kentuckians don't want the money they've targeted for poor children going to adults and middle class families who live in other states and can afford insurance on their own."

Kentuckians would pay $600 million more in new taxes than they would receive in new benefits under the Democrats' plan - a $600 million wealth transfer from Kentucky to states like New York and New Jersey.

"Until this year, SCHIP had been a bipartisan program and a bipartisan success," added McConnell. "All of us can agree that providing health care to low-income children is important. Democrats should not use these children as a political pawn for campaign purposes. These kids deserve our best work, and we owe it to them to forge a bipartisan compromise the President can sign."

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