CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2009
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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the reauthorization of SCHIP, an important piece of legislation that has become even more necessary now than it was when we started working on it 2 years ago. I commend my colleagues, Congressman Pallone, Congressman Waxman, the dean of the House, Congressman John Dingell, Congressman Rangel, Congressman Stark, and many others for their tireless efforts on this bill.
Madam Speaker, by passing this bill today we will provide health care for 11 million children. This is not just a bipartisan achievement, it is the right thing to do.
With the economic downturn and some of the worst unemployment numbers we've seen in decades, rising health insurance costs are making it increasingly difficult for families to afford health care for their children. States faced with the constitutional responsibility of balancing their budgets have been cutting programs that provide children with access to health care. Some states have already cut thousands of children from their CHIP programs and more States are considering drastic action. By reauthorizing SCHIP, we will enable States to prevent the loss in health coverage for many of these children and allow more uninsured families to participate in the program. In Connecticut alone this legislation will mean thousands of our 43,000 uninsured children will now be covered.
One story that has been brought to my attention is the story of the Farr family in Manchester, CT. Joseph and Danielle Farr are in their early thirties. They are hardworking citizens who have a young child soon to turn 1. They have a household income that is just $15 above Medicaid. But they qualify for SCHIP, which they call a "godsend'' for their family.
The Farrs just learned that Joe is likely to be laid off from his job in March--a story familiar to many Americans. But, thanks to SCHIP, their son will continue to get the health care he needs. By reauthorizing SCHIP we will make sure that families like the Farrs will continue to have health care for their child even if they do fall victim to the economic downturn.
This bill will increase outreach efforts targeted at children currently eligible but not enrolled in the program and also give pregnant women access to health care through SCHIP. While we still have many more miles to travel on the road to fulfilling the promise of health care reform, this, Madam Speaker, is a down-payment on that effort. I am proud to support this legislation and urge my colleagues to stand with us, to stand with our children, and pass this bill.
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