PA Advocates Ask President Bush, 'What about the Kids??'

Children's Advocates Disappointed with Veto of Federal State Children's

Health Insurance (SCHIP) Bill

Oct 03, 2007, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children

    HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania
 Partnerships for Children (PPC) and Philadelphia Citizens for Children and
 Youth (PCCY) today expressed deep disappointment with President Bush's veto
 of the bipartisan Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act
 of 2007. The bill, passed by the House and Senate last week, provides
 health insurance for 10 million children nationwide whose families cannot
 afford employer-sponsored health plans, but who earn too much to qualify
 for Medicaid. More than 164,000 Pennsylvania children rely on CHIP for
 health care coverage.
     Pres. Bush said he vetoed the bill on the grounds it is "socialized
 medicine" and would cause people in the private sector to switch to
 government-sponsored insurance. But in Pennsylvania and in many other
 states, private insurance companies serve as contractors to provide the
 coverage. In addition, Pennsylvania's CHIP expansion last year has not
 resulted in children leaving private health insurance plans. "The decline
 in private insurance is due to increasing costs and the reduced ability of
 families and employers to obtain affordable private coverage," said Alisa
 Simon, health policy director of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and
 Youth, "blaming CHIP and punishing children for a broader economic trend is
 the wrong tactic."
     There are approximately nine million uninsured children nationwide and
 133,000 children without insurance in Pennsylvania. The vetoed bill would
 have helped the Commonwealth reach this population. Insurance companies,
 hospitals, doctors and other members of the health care system supported
 the measure. In addition, recent polling indicated that the public strongly
 supported the measure. As well as governors, Republican and Democrats
 alike, who have expressed support for the measure.
     "I do not understand how the President could veto this bill with such
 strong support across the board," said Joan Benso, president and CEO,
 Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. "It seems unfathomable to deny the
 will of the people -and leave millions of children vulnerable to a medical
     The bipartisan measure was passed by Congress last week with strong
 support on both sides of the aisle. Eighteen of Pennsylvania's 21-member
 congressional delegation voted in favor of the legislation. " We are proud
 that the vast majority of our congressional delegation put partisan
 politics aside and supported the measure. These Representatives and
 Senators deserve high praise for their work on behalf of children's health.
 We now need them to stand tall again and override the veto," said Benso.
     More information can be obtained by contacting Kathy Geller Myers,
 Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, at 717-236-5680;;, or by calling
 Alisa Simon at Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth, at

SOURCE Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children