Matheson Champions Children's Health
Congressman Jim Matheson said today that real harm will be done to children in working-poor families if President Bush again vetoes the bipartisan compromise bill that renews and extends the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Matheson cosponsored HR 3963 - the legislation resulting from changes made by Congress to the bill vetoed by the President a week ago. It passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 265-142 Thursday.
"This model program has served children and families well for 10 years. Having health insurance gives kids access to the health care they need to thrive. Not only is it the morally right thing to do, caring for children makes fiscal sense as well. In Utah, we can help 74,000 children who otherwise will fall through the cracks," said Matheson.
Matheson noted that the SCHIP program is a partnership between federal and state government and private insurers. The bill sets a cap on what a family of four can earn and states are barred from going above that, to keep the focus on low-income families. The measure requires that childless adults be removed from SCHIP by the end of 2008. It bars illegal immigrants from enrolling by requiring that states submit Social Security numbers for verification prior to accepting children in the program.
Matheson said the legislation meets the goal of covering all 6.5 million children currently enrolled and it offers enrollment for an additional 4 million eligible children. The cost is paid for by increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes by 61 cents.