Senator John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) and Senate Democratic Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today announced they are introducing a resolution urging the United States Congress to override President Bush's veto of a bill that would have expanded children's health insurance through reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This program is one of the most efficient health care measures created in the past decade, effectively expanding health assistance to thousands of uninsured children.
"We in the Senate Democratic Caucus encourage Congress to continue their support of children's health care as a top priority by overturning Bush's irresponsible veto of SCHIP expansion," Boccieri said.
"In partnership with our Governor, we remain committed to advancing responsive and responsible policies as set forth in the state budget, which ensures health care access for all children in Ohio," Fedor said.
The state budget, which passed the Ohio House and Senate almost unanimously for the first time in more than 80 years, ensured health care access for all Ohio children by expanding SCHIP to 300% of poverty.
With SCHIP set to expire this year, the U.S. House and Senate voted by wide margins last week to expand SCHIP by $35 billion over the next five years, bringing the total funding for the program to $60 billion. However, President Bush vetoed the measure Wednesday.
Under the plan, Ohio would have received an additional $93.8 million in fiscal year 2008 funding for a program that currently serves approximately 145,000 children. Governor Strickland's budget would add approximately 20,000 more Ohio children to the program. If SCHIP is not expanded, however, ensuring health care access for all children in Ohio will be far less likely.
Unless Congress overrides Bush's veto, a major investment of our state's budget - accessible and affordable health care for every child - will remain in grave danger.
"Without this funding, Ohio may face a $6.8 million budget deficit shortfall in fiscal year '08 as well as a $98.6 million shortfall in fiscal year '09," Boccieri said. "It is imperative that Congress overturn this veto to ensure that all our nation's children have accessible and affordable health care."