Letter to the House on support for the reauthorization and expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
July 31, 2007
On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we strongly urge you to support the reauthorization and expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provided in the Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act (H.R. 3162), scheduled for floor debate this week.
Vote YES on the reauthorization/expansion of SCHIP; and
Vote NO on any amendments that would weaken or reduce expansion efforts.
Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th 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 check-ups 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 six million children already enrolled, while extending coverage to approximately four million additional children.
We are very pleased that the proposed legislation provides the full $50 billion in new five-year funding promised in the FY08 Congressional Budget Resolution. We also commend the House for including in the bill a moratorium on changes to school-based Medicaid claiming. These provisions will ensure that school districts can continue to claim administrative and transportation costs associated with providing health services to Medicaid-eligible students with special needs. In so doing, the bill will ensure that children with serious and chronic conditions can get the health care they need so that they can go to school. We hope that this additional funding and the Medicaid-related provisions will be included in any final conference agreement with the Senate.
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.
Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations
Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy