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Patrick Murphy: S-CHIP Now More than Ever

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Patrick Murphy: S-CHIP Now More Than Ever

8th District Congressman Stands Up to President Bush on S-CHIP Again - As Economy Slows, More Children Need Health Care

6,700 Bucks County Children Currently Enrolled in SCHIP
162,800 Pennsylvania Children Currently Enrolled in SCHIP
36,400 Additional PA Children in S-CHIP/Medicaid in Slow Economy

Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) voted again to override President Bush's short-sighted veto of the bipartisan Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization. President Bush has vetoed this funding twice despite the support of 43 governors from both parties and wide, bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Today's vote comes on the heels of a new report released by the Joint Economic Committee in the House and Senate that shows that due to a slowing economy, S-CHIP is more important than ever. According to the report, cash-strapped states nationwide will see between 700,000 and 1.1 million additional children enroll in S-CHIP and Medicaid due to slower job creation. Pennsylvania alone is projected to have 36,400 new children enroll in S-CHIP or Medicaid each year of an economic downturn on top of the 162,800 Pennsylvania kids currently enrolled in S-CHIP and the 6,700 Bucks County kids enrolled in S-CHIP. The vote today passed the House - again with wide bipartisan support - by a margin of 260-152, but failed to override the president's veto. This bill, which President Bush has repeatedly vetoed, would have meant an additional 3.8 million children from low income families - including 140,000 here in Pennsylvania - would receive health care.

"With more bad news in our economy every day, we need to support children's health care now more than ever," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "More children could be at risk and President Bush's shortsighted veto puts their health in jeopardy. This critical program has wide support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents and I am proud to fight for the thousands of hard working parents in our district who play by the rules and just want to keep their kids healthy."

Under this bill

* Nearly 4 Million Additional American Children will Receive Health Care
* 140,000 Additional Pennsylvania Children will Receive Health Care [LINK]

The JEC report finds that if employment growth falls to the levels seen following the 2001 recession, then demand for CHIP and Medicaid will grow, even apart from the normal growth trend in public coverage. A slowing economy will likely lead to substantial increases in Medicaid/CHIP demand, yet the Administration is proposing a range of cutbacks to CHIP and Medicaid funding that will make the problem even more severe. These cutbacks will put increased fiscal demands on states at a time when they are ill equipped to handle them, according to the JEC report. The report concludes that overriding the President's veto of CHIP reauthorization would guarantee sufficient funding levels for the CHIP program to serve future enrollment needs.

This fiscally responsible legislation maintains current law regarding children's eligibility, but by investing $35 billion into the health and well-being of American children, the bill provides states with the resources necessary to reach millions of eligible children not yet enrolled in CHIP. This bill provides health care only to American citizens and gives states incentives to make sure low-income children receive health care. The original State Children's Health Insurance 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.

The bill has garnered a broad range of support from various advocacy organizations and a bipartisan collection of political leaders. CHIP Reauthorization is supported by the AARP, the American Medical Association, the Healthcare Leadership Council, the American Cancer Society and the Catholic Health Association. It has received broad support from Democrats and Republican leaders including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Reps Phil English (R-PA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA).

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