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Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007

Location: Washington, DC

CHILDREN'S HEALTH AND MEDICARE PROTECTION ACT OF 2007 -- (Extensions of Remarks - August 03,


* Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act. This is a landmark measure which touches on many aspects of our national health care system. It forestalls a potentially devastating cut to physician payments through Medicare that would imperil our senior's access to their doctors. It also expands assistance to our lowest income seniors so they get the help they need to afford life-saving medication.

* But most important, the bill we are debating today will extend the life changing benefit of health insurance to five million more American children. That means five million parents who won't have to bring their child to the emergency room because they're running a fever. Five million parents who can take their child to a dentist if their teeth hurt. Five million parents who can take care of their children in a way we all take for granted--that when they're sick, they can go to the doctor.

* SCHIP has been an incredible success story, extending the benefits of health care to six million children, about 750,000 in California alone. These are children whose families have incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who do not receive health insurance through their employment and can't afford it on their own. SCHIP is based on a simple premise: Insuring kids is the right thing to do. And it's much cheaper to insure a child, who is relatively healthy, than an adult or a senior citizen. The experience of the 10 years since SCHIP was originally created proves the wisdom of providing health insurance for children.

* In addition to reauthorizing the program, this bill improves SCHIP by creating new incentives to seek out millions of children around the nation who are eligible but not enrolled. It includes a group of seven best practices, developed and implemented in states, that should be followed to get kids into the program and keep them there. That's the right approach. In the past, I've called for a simplified enrollment system so that families applying for a range of means-tested benefits, such as subsidized school lunches, can automatically apply for SCHIP. We accomplish that with this bill, and it will mean that more kids who are eligible will get enrolled and stay enrolled for a benefit that they are entitled.

* The Committee on the Budget has certified that this legislation complies with the PAYGO rules we set earlier this year to ensure fiscal discipline. It pays for these important reforms to children's health and Medicare by an increase in the tax on cigarettes a provision that I hope will help discourage youth smoking. And it cuts back on subsidies to privately run Medicare plans. Contrary to the statements of the minority, we are not cutting one dime from Medicare. In fact, this bill today will extend the lifespan of the Medicare Trust Fund.

* A vote for this bill is a vote for an America that takes care of its children. In the richest Nation in the history of the world, it is simply wrong that millions of children, our most vulnerable citizens, go without basic access to health care. With a ``yes'' vote, five million more children will enjoy the benefits of a healthy future and a real chance in life. I urge a ''yes'' vote.

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