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Letter to the Senate on support for the reauthorization and expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

July 31, 2007

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to support the reauthorization and expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provided in the bipartisan Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (S. 1893), which will be debated this week as part of the Small Business Tax Relief Act (H.R. 976).  Specifically, we strongly urge you to:

  • 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 more than three million additional children. 

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. We hope to continue to work with the Senate as this bill goes forward to conference to provide for even greater funding and coverage for additional vulnerable children. 

Again, we urge your support for this critical legislation.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy