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Public Statements

Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization of 2009 -- (House of Representatives - February 4, 2009)


Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program, which started in 1997, was for children, for children who lived in families who did not qualify for Medicaid but still needed health insurance programs. Today, four States have more adults in the program than children. It is being abused.

The health insurance program for children also required, originally, those in this country to show that they lived in this country legally, to have documentation. This program removes that proof. You now need only to say, ``Yes, I am here legally.'' It also removes the 5-year requirement. When you are here legally and you are sponsored by someone, they have to be responsible for taking care of your needs for 5 years. This is removed. What will happen if we follow on with an amnesty bill for the 20 million illegals who would be immediately eligible for the SCHIP program? Would it then be fully funded?

The funding, by the way, mostly by tobacco, falls on low-income people. The burden on the lowest 20 percent with the tobacco program is 37 times more burdensome than were it funded by an income tax. It also requires 22 million new smokers just to pay the bill. I want to see the majority go recruit them.

It is estimated that 2.4 million people will drop private insurance; families will drop because they qualify. Employers paying employees less than $80,000 a year will drop it. This isn't mean-spirited; it is in their interest. We saw this happen before.

In 1965, every physician and dentist in America had a file drawer full of patients that they treated for free. It was their community responsibility. When Medicare and Medicaid came along, they said, ``Well, my taxes are going up to pay for that. The government will now do it.'' And they dropped that responsibility, and the burden fell on the taxpayer.

With the upper limit disregards in this program on income ceilings, we essentially make 75 percent of all Americans eligible for the program. Again, I repeat. I have heard it said many times it is fully funded. And Lyndon Johnson said that about Medicare and Medicaid. I was in dental school and watched his great society speech. He said, ``We know, using easily quantifiable user statistics that, by 1990, Medicare will only cost $9 billion and Medicaid will only cost $1 billion.'' He was wrong. Medicare costs over $100 billion; Medicaid costs over $75 billion, and those entitlements are breaking this country.


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