Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Your Voice Counts for Kids: Support SCHIP Now!

Call your Congressional leaders now: Dial 1-202-225-3121 and ask to speak to your Representative and Senators' offices. Urge them to take action in support of the State's Children's Health Insurance Program Act (SCHIP): no exclusions


- Children could be the beneficiaries of one of the first 2009 legislative actions in Congress. Since 1997 Congressional bipartisan cooperation and leadership has been critical for over 7 million uninsured children who have benefited from the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program Act (SCHIP). The new action stands to benefit an additional 4 million children.

- SCHIP has been a successful federal-state program that offers health insurance to children whose parents’ income may exclude them from Medicaid but not enough to have health coverage. Poor and working class families have benefited from SCHIP. A positive and new provision to the Act is the availability of critically needed dental and mental health services.

- One provision that has not changed is the exclusion of “legal” immigrant children and pregnant women. Under the current SCHIP law, they must wait five years before they become eligible for federally funded Medicaid and SCHIP. This action continues to be a roadblock that undermines the possibility of vulnerable immigrant children and pregnant women from participation in the program.

- Several senators continue to support this position while a growing number of senators have called for the removal of the waiting period; this would occur with the inclusion of the Legal Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) to the bill. The House has already passed SCHIP. Now their Senate colleagues must take action and support SCHIP’s reauthorization through 2013.

Your Voice Counts for Every Child: Please contact your Senator to urge support for the State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program and to include the Legal Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act. Let’s not allow children to be part of partisan policies.