Instead of working with Congress to expand healthcare coverage to millions of uninsured children, the Bush Administration has continued to restrict access to basic coverage for the 9 million uninsured children living in this country.

These new restrictions unfairly tie the hands of states in their efforts to cover more uninsured children by setting unrealistic standards.  These regulations will have devastating and immediate impact on eighteen states, including Illinois.

Governor Blagojevich has used the flexibility offered to states under the SCHIP to cover 350,000 children from families earning up to 300% of the poverty level and 130,000 low-income parents.  The Bush restrictions will prohibit children from families with incomes over 250% of the poverty level from being covered and eliminate all of their parents under this plan.

From day one, this Administration has been determined to undermine and under-fund SCHIP.  During reauthorization, the Administration and House Republicans used every opportunity to block this bill from coming to the floor for a vote.  It’s clear that the latest regulations are just another attempt by this Administration to sabotage our efforts to cover 5 million more children.

Today, I am calling on the Bush Administration to abandon these new restrictions and support the reauthorization bill in its current form.