KENNEDY CELEBRATES PASSAGE OF CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM
Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. The $35 billion agreement will bring healthcoverage to approximately ten million children in need – preserving coverage for all 6.6million children currently covered by CHIP and providing coverage to an additional 4million uninsured children. The agreement provides $100 million in grants for newoutreach activities to states, local governments, schools, community-based organizations,safety-net providers and others to enroll millions more low-income, uninsured Americanchildren in the next five years. The bill will also provide quality dental coverage to allchildren enrolled in CHIP, and ensures states will offer mental health services on par withmedical and surgical benefits covered under CHIP. In addition, the agreement protectsmedically necessary benefits (EPSDT) for low-income children. Senator Kennedy wasthe lead author of the original legislation in 1997.
'Upon passage tonight, Senator Kennedy said, “Today we listened to the Americanpeople and said yes to the most important advance in children’s health in a decade. Thisbill will give 10 million children a healthy start in life and peace of mind to millions ofparents. Democrats and Republicans put politics aside to put children first and I urge thePresident to do the same. 600,000 more children became uninsured last year and it isbaffling to me that the President would veto a bill that fixes a problem that happened onhis watch. The President and every Member of Congress enjoy guaranteed health carecoverage. We owe the children of America no less. If the President vetoes this bill, thenour duty is clear. We will be back tomorrow, and the next day, and for however long ittakes to see this bipartisan bill become law.”
(As Prepared for Delivery)The measure of a just society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens –especially our children.
Today, we voted to make America an even better nation. Democrats andRepublicans said yes to our children and we urge President Bush to say yes, too.
We said yes to the most important advance in child health in a decade.
We said yes to a program that will give 10 million children a healthy start in life.And we said yes to the promise of a better future for America’s children.
This is not just about health insurance.
It’s about giving parents peace of mind. It’s about keeping children healthy sothey do well in school.
It’s about preparing the next generation of Americans to live better lives.
In his campaign, President Bush declared that “America's children must have ahealthy start in life.”
He pledged to “lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children whoare eligible but not signed up for the government's health insurance programs.”
But vetoing this bill will do just the opposite.
It will mean that fewer children receive health coverage, not more.
Our bipartisan action today matches the President’s commitment of the past.
We urge him to sign this bill, and give new hope to millions of low-incomeworking families who can’t afford health care for their children.
President Bush and every Member of Congress have good health care coveragefor their children.
We owe all the children of America nothing less.