SCHIP Needs Increased Funding

Far too many American families are struggling day to day to afford the cost of health insurance.  Today, there are nearly forty-seven million Americans who don't have health insurance.  What is even more appalling is that approximately nine million of those who are uninsured are children.

This disturbing statistic would undoubtedly be worse if it were not for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Thanks to SCHIP, the percentage of low-income children in the United States without health insurance has fallen by one-fourth since it was created in 1997.  More than six million low-income children, most of whom would otherwise be uninsured, are enrolled in SCHIP.

While the program has largely been a success, it is now being threatened.  Last year, for the first time since 1998, the number of uninsured children in the country actually increased. The most immediate and glaring problem is the lack of funding for SCHIP. Simply stated, more money is needed in order to ensure the viability of this program and to cover more kids.

Various health care experts have estimated that we need additional funding over the next five years simply to help maintain the program for those who are already enrolled.  And if we are going to find the approximately 6 million children who are eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid, but who are not enrolled, we would need at least $50 billion over the next five years.

Some people may say that this figure is unreasonable or unrealistic and will be difficult to fund given the budget constraints, but I say how can we afford not to spend this money on this country's most vital asset, our children?  It's simply a sound investment in our nation's future.

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