Menendez Joins Introduction Of Legislation To Block White House Limits On Children's Health Insurance Program

Menendez Joins Introduction Of Legislation To Block White House Limits On Children's Health Insurance Program

NJ senator who led 43 colleagues on letter to president is lead co-sponsor on Kennedy CHIP legislation

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who has helped lead the fight on Capitol Hill to preserve federal support of New Jersey's strong children's health insurance program, today joined Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in introducing new legislation to block new White House limits on CHIP. On Monday, Menendez sent a letter that was signed by 43 Senate colleagues to President Bush on this issue (http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=282182), and NJ Governor Jon S. Corzine also sent a letter to the president today.

These actions are in response to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcement in August placing new restrictions on state CHIP programs. In a letter to state health officials, CMS laid out the limits that apply to states covering or seeking to cover children from families with incomes above 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Today, Menendez said that passing this new legislation will help ensure coverage for children from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance.

"These cold-hearted limits hurt children from working families that cannot afford private health insurance - children with nowhere else to turn for health coverage," said Menendez. "When debated on the floor, I defeated an amendment that would have pushed 3,000 NJ kids into the uninsured, so you can be darn sure I am going to fight to block a rule that would push 10,000 NJ kids into the uninsured.

"We have urged President Bush to reverse his Administration's uncompassionate decision, but we can't just count on him to see the light. With this legislation, we can ensure that our children who need health care the most are not tossed into the ocean of the uninsured, regardless of what the Administration does. I also commend the Governor for his efforts to block these egregious limitations from knocking New Jersey kids out of the program."

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