11.01.07

ENZI CALLS ON SENATE TO PASS SCHIP RENEWAL THAT PUTS KIDS FIRST, THEN ENACT BROAD HEALTH CARE REFORM FOR ALL AMERICANS

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Memberof the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today saidCongress is losing sight of the original intent of the State Children’s Health InsuranceProgram (SCHIP) by threatening to turn a sound health care plan for kids into a flawedprogram covering kids and adults with the so called “new” SCHIP bill, which the Senateapproved today and which President Bush has said he will veto. Enzi spoke on the Senate floor during today’s debate on the House passed SCHIPbill that is essentially the same bill vetoed two weeks ago by President Bush. He urgedthe Senate to pass an SCHIP bill that focuses on low-income children, and then beginwork on broad health care reform legislation for all Americans. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but this so-called ‘new’ SCHIPplan that’s essentially the same as the old one still stinks,” Enzi said. “Passing a bill thatis as flawed as the last one is not what a legislative body listening to the people should bedoing. Let’s put politics aside, put low-income children first, and get this chamber backon board with the original intention of the SCHIP program - helping children.” Enzi chided what he called the “rush and whine” model of legislating that hasstalled genuine health care reform in which Senators “rush out of meetings to hold a pressconference so they can whine about a problem.” “That approach generates a lot of noise but it doesn’t result in any action,” Enzisaid. “We need to work together – majority and minority – to build a legacy our childrenand grandchildren will benefit from – a fair and effective health care system that willensure more Americans have access to the care they need to lead full and productivelives.” Enzi laid out his proposal to reduce health care costs and improve quality, “TenSteps to Transform Healthcare in America, S. 1783. This bill would allow smallbusinesses to band together to negotiate affordable health care plans, reform a flawed taxcode to help individuals purchase health insurance, advance health informationtechnology, and promote medical justice reform. “My bill is a 10-step approach that would bring clarity to our health insurancemaze and put the focus where it belongs – on patients,” Enzi said. “Then we can create asystem of health care – not sick care.” “Those who were elected and are now in charge have refused to keep this debatefocused on a substantive proposal that has a shot at working. There is already talkamongst top Democrats that next year will be ‘health care year.’ Election yearpoliticking should not stand in the way of real reform for health care. We have anopportunity to do something now – to get legislation passed that will mean real solutionsfor our constituents.” ####

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