Congress Looks to Beef Up SCHIP (Rep. Phil Hare)

With our economy in recession, more and more working families are struggling to afford health care. This week, Congress will take long overdue action to cover additional uninsured children under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Since its creation in 1997, SCHIP has succeeded in providing health care coverage for more than 6 million children of families whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to buy private insurance.

In the 110th Congress, I voted twice to expand SCHIP to cover 4 million additional children, but both measures were vetoed by President Bush. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a staunch conservative, said: "I think the President’s had some pretty bad advice on this." Senator Hatch was right.

Fortunately, there is a new sheriff in town. President-elect Barack Obama has expressed his support for an expansion of SCHIP. He understands that we have a moral obligation to provide our children with the best health care possible.

Over 280,000 Illinois children are currently enrolled in SCHIP. This bill would cover 154,000 more. After years of indifference, these children and their families will finally have a chief executive that stands up for them.

I look forward to voting for this important legislation this week.

Cross-posted at Quadsville

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