Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank You to Our Federal Representatives for SCHIP Approval

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 2 –The Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2009 (HR 2) by 289 votes to 139, a margin of 150 votes.
In this time of great economic uncertainty, this legislation will ensure that children from low-income families have healthcare coverage. It could not be more important. Children are our future and we must ensure they have the best future possible. Health care is a vital part of this equation.
I am pleased to single out our City’s representatives in Congress, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Kendrick Meek for their support of the legislation, in addition to the support of the Miami-Dade and South Florida delegations, namely Representatives Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ron Klein, Alcee Hastings and Robert Wexler.
The SCHIP program will expand coverage to an additional 4 million eligible children nationwide at a cost of $33 billion over 4 1/2 years. The bill includes an important provision which allows the states to eliminate the five year waiting period for low-income children who are legally in the U.S. It also gives states new options to cover pregnant women while also preserving existing pregnant women coverage options. An earlier version of the bill was vetoed in 2007 by President Bush. The extension of coverage will be funded by a 0.61 cents tax on tobacco.
I urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead and approve this important program.
- Manny