WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) today commended President Bush for attempting to address the nation's urgent health care needs in tonight's State of the Union Address. While acknowledging the need to address health care is a refreshing step in the right direction for this administration, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman was disappointed the president failed to address the health care needs of the more than 9 million uninsured children in the United States. "The proposal outlined by the president fails to even address the urgent need to cover the more than 9 million uninsured children and millions more who are underinsured," said Edelman. "Tax deductions do little for most families. The president's plan would force many parents to choose between paying for health care or other family needs. We need to be more direct in dealing with the health care crisis, especially for the sake of our children." Tax deductions can actually erode employer-based coverage, encouraging states to reduce coverage under Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The president's tax deductions could also weaken, not increase, the coverage of children without making health insurance any more affordable for most families. By contrast, a CDF proposal would control costs for low- and middle-income families and provide states with financial incentives to enroll children. "Investing in health coverage for all children is the most cost-effective action our government can make," continued Edelman. "We encourage the president to take the smart, moral and achievable step to ensure all children in America have a healthy start in life. CDF encourages the president to work with Congress to create a streamlined system that guarantees health care coverage for all of our children in 2007." Earlier this month, CDF released a plan that would provide health care coverage to all children in America. The full details of CDF's proposal are available at http://www.childrensdefense.org/healthychild.
SOURCE Children's Defense Fund