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For Immediate Release
October 18, 2007
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the aftermath of President Bush's veto of legislation to renew the highly successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), two leading children’s advocacy organizations, First Focus and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), issued a joint statement opposing any further compromise between Congress and the White House that would result in fewer children getting coverage than under the Congressionally passed bill (which would cover an estimated 3.1 million of the more than nine million currently uninsured children).
CDF President Marian Wright Edelman and First Focus President Bruce Lesley released the following joint statement:
"The bipartisan renewal of the immensely successful Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) passed by the House and Senate after months of negotiation is already a compromise. It falls far short of what children really need, covering only one-third of the uninsured children in America. If passed, another six million children would still live without the critical health coverage they need to survive and thrive. Nevertheless, we support its passage because it is an important step forward for our children, garnering strong bipartisan support from Members of Congress, governors, and the public.
The health and well-being of children in America are not improving; rather, the government's own data show that there were one million more uninsured children in America in 2006 than just two years ago. While the President claims he is trying to help low-income children, his own proposal could actually result in another 1.4 million children losing health coverage.
The President's veto threats resulted in a 30 percent reduction in funding for the Congressionally passed CHIP bill, down from $50 to $35 billion over five years. Yet, despite significant compromises on policy and funding, President Bush still vetoed it, putting health coverage for 10 million children at risk. President Bush’s veto is out of step with what Americans want, and what children need. As organizations committed to improving the health and well-being of children in America, we stand strongly opposed to further negotiation that would result in fewer children getting coverage than under the Congressionally passed bipartisan CHIP reauthorization bill."