House Passes SCHIP Bill; 11 Million Kids to Benefit

Received this from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office:

Washington, D.C. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on this House floor early this afternoon in support of H.R. 2, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization bill, which later passed by a strong bipartisan vote of 289 to 139. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

“My colleagues, this is a day of triumph for American children. With what I expect to be a strong bipartisan vote, the House will bring us one step closer to providing health care for 11 million children in America.

“With this action and with the legislation last week to ensure equal pay for equal work for women, Congress makes clear that we put women and children first. It is important that we have this legislation up so soon in this new Congress because children are our top priority. We would like to be considered a Congress for the children, a Congress for the future.

“At a time of economic crisis, nothing could be more essential than ensuring that children of hardworking families receive the quality health care that they deserve. Many of these children are from families of hardworking Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It is sad to say that Americans lost 2.6 million jobs last year. Over half a million jobs were lost in the month of December. 500,000 jobs were lost in the month of December. It was actually 526, 000 jobs.

“Each month until we have an economic recovery initiative, we will continue to lose at least 500,000 jobs per month. With such job loss, Americans see the health care coverage that we all need for our children disappear. For every 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate, it is estimated that as many as 1.5 million Americans will lose their health care coverage. A record 47 million Americans, including 9 million children, are without health insurance now.

“Ensuring that children have access to affordable health care just makes sense. It’s not just about addressing their health needs when they are sick, it’s about keeping them healthy in advance. It’s about prevention. It’s about diet, not diabetes. It’s about prevention, not amputation. It’s about a healthier America.

“Contrary to the views of some, an emergency room is not good health care on a regular basis. An emergency room is as it is described — for emergencies. Not for ongoing health care. So for those who say that all people in our country have access to health care, they can go to an emergency room, I don’t know what they could be thinking.

“By ensuring health care coverage for 11 million children, families will have regular doctor visits and preventive care. We will ensure that children get the care they need and that the health care costs are not inflated, due to expensive emergency room care. That is why more than 80 percent of the American people support this legislation. It is bipartisan. It is fully paid for by a 61-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes — as a major part of its funding. And it represents a new direction, because it is for good health care for American children and it is paid for.

“We have fought in the last Congress together — Democrats and Republicans in the House and in the Senate — to pass this legislation, which we did, but it was vetoed. At the time, President Bush said we could not afford this legislation — that we could not afford to insure America’s children. Forty days in Iraq equals over 10 million children in America insured for one year. We certainly can afford to do that.

“We look forward to bring this legislation to President Obama’s desk as one of the first bills that he will sign. And when we do, we owe a great deal of gratitude to Chairman Henry Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Rangel of Ways and Means, Chairman Emeritus John Dingell, who worked on this issue for a very long time and engineered it through the last Congress. Thank you Mr. Dingell, Congressman Pallone- the chair of the subcommittee, Congressman Stark- the chair of the appropriate committee on Ways and Means, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which led the fight to ensure that legal immigrant children are covered under this legislation, and our CBC — Congressional Black Caucus, and all elements of our caucus, of our Congress, and coalitions on the outside.

“We could not succeed with just our inside maneuvering on a piece of legislation that is so important and so pervasive in its impact. Without the support of more than 300 organizations — from AARP to YMCA and everything in between. The March of Dimes, Easter Seals — almost every organization that you can name supports this SCHIP. And they support providing quality, affordable health care to America’s children and they support doing it by the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program legislation that we have before us today.

“So I thank all of those in the Congress for their leadership in making this important day possible for America’s children. It is important to children because of their health. It is important because it is paid for. It is important that we do something great for children, without heaping mountains of debt — adding to our deficit, delivering mountains of debt to future generations. So, all in all, this is great for kids. Let’s keep our reputation going as the Congress for children and give a strong bipartisan vote for this legislation.”

  1 comment for “House Passes SCHIP Bill; 11 Million Kids to Benefit

  1. br_gal
    January 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Right now there are big-box, non-profit hospitals declaring bankruptcy all over the country because of the way they are managed. (see http://www.thehospitalfiles.com for more information). Does it make any sense for the United States Congress to shut down over 200 of America’s best and safest hospitals just because physicians own and operate them instead of the bureaucrats?

    Of course not.

    But Senator Reid is being asked to do just that. What he does is really up to you. The bureaucrats have hired a small army of big-shot Washington lobbyists to work over our Congressmen and Senators. Its not even another emergency bail-out. This is just old-fashioned, Washington insider stuff: bureaucrats trying to buy political influence to stop the hospital reform movement started by physicians acting on their medical oath to put patients first.

    Unbelievably, its a California Democrat, U.S. Rep Pete Stark, who wants bureaucrats, not physicians, controlling every hospital in America. As you might expect, Congressman Stark has done very well for himself as the champion of the American Hospital Association which represents the bureaucrats. That’s how it’s worked in Washington for a very long time.

    Who knows whether Senator Reid even knows what Stark is trying to do, let alone the harm it will do? The AHA bureaucrats sure aren’t telling.

    The physicians are, well, physicians, not politicians. They’re hoping that the Congress will wind up doing the right thing … somehow.

    But we know better, don’t we? There are times when, as voters and citizens, we’ve just got to pick up the phone and tell our Congressman and Senator, “no way.”

    This is one of them.

    During the campaign Barack Obama said he could bring change and reform to Washington, but he needed our help to do it.

    After he won the campaign President-elect Obama told us that we must all work together for change and reform.

    Starting right now.

    The Congress is going into session weeks before President-elect Obama will be sworn in. That’s why Congressman Stark has been told to shut down hospitals operated by physicians right away, before our new President moves into the White House.

    That’s why we need to tell the Congressmen and Senators who work for us that we support physicians, not bureaucrats and so should they.

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