Large, Bipartisan Group Of Senators Call On White House To Withdraw Limits On Schip

Large, Bipartisan Group Of Senators Call On White House To Withdraw Limits On Schip

Sens. Menendez and Smith lead group of 44 Senators standing up for children from low-income families in need of health care safety net

Washington - A bipartisan group of 44 Senators, led by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), is calling on President Bush towithdraw new requirements that will limit states from continuing or extending health care coverage to children from families that may earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance (http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/menendezsmithschiplettertobush091007.pdf). In a letter sent to the president today, the senators maintain that the limits on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will impose "unnecessary and insurmountable roadblocks to a state's ability to help additional uninsured children."

In August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) laid out the new restrictions regarding SCHIP in a letter to state health officials - restrictions that apply to states covering or seeking to cover children from families with incomes above 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

"American children from working families that cannot afford private health insurance should not have this safety net cut out from under them - they have nowhere else to turn for health coverage," said Senator Menendez. "These limits would dump thousands of children into the ocean of the uninsured and it would handcuff states seeking to throw a life buoy to additional uninsured children. These restrictions will harm children's health, and they should be reversed."

"The health of too many children rests on a states ability to offer them coverage through SCHIP," said Senator Smith. "This is a bipartisan effort to urge the President to withdraw this regulation before forcing the hand of Congress. In Oregon alone, this regulation could jeopardize the state's efforts to extend health care coverage to 100,000 uninsured children. The White House should be working with Congress to expand coverage rather than restricting it."

In July, the Senate approved legislation to reauthorize the SCHIP program with strong bipartisan support, 68-31. The measure would provide funding for states to cover an additional 3.2 million children.

Senators that co-signed the letter:

Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Bernard Sanders (D-VT), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), John Kerry (D-MA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Barack Obama (D-IL), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Joseph Biden (D-DE), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Tom Johnson (D-SD), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Christopher Bond (R-MO)

# # #