WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a
statement by Statement by Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E),
Executive Director, American Public Health Association:
"President Bush stated this week that he intends to veto pending
legislation that would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance
Program (SCHIP), which is set to expire Sept. 30. The bill would extend
health coverage to approximately 4 million uninsured children and continue
providing coverage to 6 million children.
"The American Public Health Association (APHA) strongly urges the
president to reconsider and sign the SCHIP bill that is likely to be passed
by the House and Senate next week. APHA believes that the reasons the
president gives for his intended veto are unfounded.
"We urge the president to consider these facts in light of his recent
assertions to support a veto:
-- The president asserts that since he has made his veto intention clear,
Congress should pass a bill extending the program at its current
funding levels until a resolution can be reached.
FACT: If baseline-funding levels are maintained through a temporary
extension of the program, 800,000 children will lose coverage.
-- The president asserts that the House and Senate bills aim to shift
focus away from low-income children by increasing eligibility for
higher income children.
FACT: Of the children who would receive benefits under both bills, 70
percent or more are members of households with incomes below 200 percent of
the federal poverty level.
-- The president asserts that funding the increases in the SCHIP budget
through an increase in the tobacco tax will hurt working Americans.
FACT: Research has shown that increases in the tobacco tax reduce the
number of people who smoke. Funding SCHIP through a tobacco tax increase
will not only reduce existing tobacco-related health care costs, but will
also deter kids from becoming smokers.
-- The president asserts that we cannot afford to increase the SCHIP
FACT: We cannot afford not to do this. The cost to the nation for the
uninsured is already more than $65 billion annually. One-third of this cost
is incurred by government, and the other-two thirds is borne by business
and those of us who are insured.
"Failing to cover uninsured kids is bad economics, bad policy and bad
medicine. Providing all of our children the right start in life is
essential to building healthy, secure communities, and SCHIP has
demonstrated that it does this. The president has an opportunity to prove
that he is committed to the health and security of our nation's children.
We strongly urge him and his advisors to review the facts and reconsider
his intended veto."
Visit http://www.apha.org/about/news/boilerplate.htm for more
information about the American Public Health Association.
Contact: Bithiah Lafontant: (202) 777-2509
SOURCE American Public Health Association