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APHA Urges President Bush to Reconsider Unfounded Basis for SCHIP Veto

Saturday, September 22, 2007 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 The following is astatement by Statement by Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), ExecutiveDirector, American Public Health Association:

"President Bush stated this week that he intends to veto pendinglegislation that would reauthorize the State Children's Health InsuranceProgram (SCHIP), which is set to expire Sept. 30. The bill would extend healthcoverage to approximately 4 million uninsured children and continue providingcoverage to 6 million children.

"The American Public Health Association (APHA) strongly urges thepresident to reconsider and sign the SCHIP bill that is likely to be passed bythe House and Senate next week. APHA believes that the reasons the presidentgives for his intended veto are unfounded.

"We urge the president to consider these facts in light of his recentassertions to support a veto:

FACT: If baseline-funding levels are maintained through a temporaryextension of the program, 800,000 children will lose coverage.

FACT: Of the children who would receive benefits under both bills, 70percent or more are members of households with incomes below 200 percent ofthe federal poverty level.

-- The president asserts that funding the increases in the SCHIP budget

through an increase in the tobacco tax will hurt working Americans.

FACT: Research has shown that increases in the tobacco tax reduce thenumber of people who smoke. Funding SCHIP through a tobacco tax increase willnot only reduce existing tobacco-related health care costs, but will alsodeter kids from becoming smokers.

-- The president asserts that we cannot afford to increase the SCHIP

budget.

FACT: We cannot afford not to do this. The cost to the nation for theuninsured is already more than $65 billion annually. One-third of this cost isincurred by government, and the other-two thirds is borne by business andthose of us who are insured.

"Failing to cover uninsured kids is bad economics, bad policy and badmedicine. Providing all of our children the right start in life is essentialto building healthy, secure communities, and SCHIP has demonstrated that itdoes this. The president has an opportunity to prove that he is committed tothe health and security of our nation's children. We strongly urge him and hisadvisors to review the facts and reconsider his intended veto."

Visit http://www.apha.org/about/news/boilerplate.htm for more informationabout the American Public Health Association.

Contact: Bithiah Lafontant: (202) 777-2509

bithiah.lafontant@apha.org-- The president asserts that since he has made his veto intention clear, Congress should pass a bill extending the program at its current funding levels until a resolution can be reached.

SOURCE American Public Health Association
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