Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) fulfilled a campaign promise by voting for a much-needed improvement to the State Children's Health Insurance Program. This bill was vetoed twice by President Bush in the last two years and each time, Rep. Murphy voted for the bill and then again to override the veto. While the House fell short of a successful override in the past, this bill is expected to become law when President-elect Barack Obama takes office. The bipartisan bill Murphy voted for today renews and improves S-CHIP, providing health care coverage for 11 million children. It preserves coverage for the 7 million children currently covered by the program and extends coverage to more than 4 million uninsured children who are currently eligible for, but not enrolled in, S-CHIP and Medicaid. The State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization was approved by a vote of 289-139.
"As our economy declines and joblessness goes up, programs like S-CHIP become more important and are used more and more. Families are hurting and this is one way to improve the health of children and our nation's overall public health," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "This is a critical program that helps hard working families keep their children healthy. I was proud to vote to re-authorize children's health insurance again and am glad that the incoming president will sign this bipartisan bill."
"This program has wide bipartisan support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents across the country - including governors and members of Congress. I am proud to fight for the thousands of parents in our district who play by the rules and just want to keep their kids healthy," Murphy added.
The program was created in 1997 to provide health care coverage for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. This bill is not only good for the short-term with its focus on being fiscally responsible, it also looks after our long-term goals by reducing the load on emergency rooms and lowers across the board health care costs. The bill is also fully paid for and will not add to the national debt. With rising unemployment, this S-CHIP bill has become more critical than ever. In this recession, more and more American parents are having difficulty finding affordable health insurance for their children and the need for this legislation is growing each day.
A wide range of advocacy organizations and a bipartisan collection of political leaders support this bill. Among others, S-CHIP Reauthorization is supported by the National Governors Association, AARP, the American Cancer Society, the National Association of Counties and the Catholic Health Association.