Larsen: President Makes Wrong Choice by Vetoing Health Care for Millions of Kids</A

Oct 3, 2007

Washington, D.C. — Today, President Bush vetoed legislation passed by Congress to preserve health care coverage for millions of children currently insured by the Children’s Health Insurance Program and extend coverage to millions more who are currently uninsured – including over 50,000 kids in Washington state. U.S. Representative Rick Larsen released the following statement on the President’s veto:

“Today, President Bush vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have provided health care to millions of low-income children who need it. The President’s decision to deny health care coverage to millions of kids was the wrong choice for our country and the wrong choice for Washington state. I will keep working with my colleagues from both parties to build support for this bill and overcome the President’s opposition.”

Background:

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2007 (H.R. 976) reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years and preserves coverage for all 6.6 million children currently covered by CHIP, including over 15,000 children in Washington state. The bill also extends health care coverage to 3.8 million children who are currently uninsured, including over 50,000 children in Washington state.

As Congress worked toward reauthorizing CHIP this year, Larsen joined Washington state Democrats to demand a children’s health care funding fix for Washington state. Washington and 10 other states have been penalized for expanding health insurance coverage to children in families with incomes just over the poverty line before the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) became law in 1997.  Since that federal legislation was enacted, Washington state has been unable to spend its full federal CHIP allotment to cover children just over the poverty line.  States that didn’t cover these children a decade ago have had no such limitation on the use of federal CHIP funds.  The bill vetoed by the President today provides a fair, permanent solution for this inequity.