WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- "I cannot accept that in its first days the new 111th Congress would consider scaling back health insurance for children during this time of great need," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation's leading health advocacy group. "Securing peace of mind for America's families by reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) must be item number one on Congress' agenda."
Reauthorization of an expanded SCHIP bill had been thought to be one of the first items the new 111th Congress would act on; however, late today came reports that Congressional leaders are considering scaling back the SCHIP program from a five-year reauthorization as a cost saving measure. SCHIP bills passed by the 110th Congress last year had been vetoed by President Bush because they included financing through an increase of the federal tobacco tax from the current 39 cents to a $1 federal tobacco tax.
"It is time for Congress and President Obama to keep their promise and secure the full financing to reauthorize SCHIP for five years. It is the essential thing to do at this critical time in our history to support America's laboring families," urged Dr. Delgado. In making their statement on SCHIP, the Alliance urged that Congress:
-- Move beyond the proposed $1 level and set the federal tobacco tax at a level that would support five-year reauthorization of SCHIP.
-- Eliminate the five year ban on Medicaid and SCHIP for legal immigrant children; and,
-- Retain provisions of legislation from the 110th Congress that would support limited English proficient outreach provisions for SCHIP enrollment of children, including a 75% federal match to state funds for such outreach.
Dr. Delgado concluded, "Passage of SCHIP for five-years will stabilize state budgets and secure piece of mind for the families of 4 million children that would otherwise be uninsured. We look forward to President-elect Obama continuing his commitment to children by signing a full five-year reauthorization of SCHIP legislation his first month in office."
About the National Alliance for Hispanic
Health The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is the nation's foremost source of information and trusted advocate for the health of Hispanics in the United States. The Alliance represents thousands of Hispanic health providers across the nation providing services to more than 15 million each year, making a daily difference in the lives of Hispanic communities and families. For more information, visit http://www.hispanichealth.org/ or call the Alliance's Su Familia National Hispanic Family Health Helpline at 1-866-783-2645. The National Alliance for Hispanic Health
Web site: http://www.hispanichealth.org/
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