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Letter to House in support of legislation that would reauthorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

January 13, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to support legislation scheduled for consideration this week that would reauthorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress. 

Quality health care is essential for the well-being of our nation’s children and families.NEA members care deeply about children’s health issues and believe that all children deserve the chance for a healthy start in life.Children’s access to quality health care can impact on their ability to learn and succeed in school. Children without health insurance forgo the regular checkups and doctor visits that every child needs, leading to unnecessary illness and increased school absenteeism. Yet, too many families lack insurance to cover needed health services.

Over the past ten years, SCHIP has helped reduce the number of uninsured children in America by one-third.  However, millions of children remain uninsured or underinsured.  The proposed expansion would renew the program’s commitment to the more than seven million children already enrolled, while extending coverage to more than four million additional children. In addition to ensuring that children have access to health care, this expansion would help increase academic success as healthy students come to school better able to learn.  

In reauthorizing and expanding SCHIP, Congress has an important opportunity to ensure that our nation’s most vulnerable children get the health services so essential for continued well-being and future success.  Again, we urge your support for this critical legislation. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust Randall Moody

Director of Government Relations Manager of Federal Advocacy