Political Leaders Urge Congress to Reauthorize Health Coverage for Children

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, are urging congressional leaders to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

In a letter sent to congressional leadership, the governors urged the House and Senate to reach a consensus before the September 30th deadline.

The text of the letter is as follows:
Dear Congressional Leadership,

Research has clearly shown us the connection between a child’s health and his or her ability to be successful in school, and ultimately in life. Healthier children are more successful, a fact that, when coupled with our moral obligation to care for our nation’s children, has helped spur efforts to improve health care for the youngest Americans.

It’s also why there’s been such strong and steadfast support in both parties and in all regions of the country for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) ever since its creation in 1997. This program has enabled millions of children the opportunity to see a doctor, to receive preventative care and to live healthier lives.

Yet the progress we have made is now threatened. For health and moral reasons, Congress must pass and the President must sign a reauthorization of SCHIP by September 30, 2007. Without timely reauthorization and funding, it will be virtually impossible for states to continue coverage for children already enrolled in SCHIP programs. According to the Congressional Research Service, without reauthorization thirty five states, including Kansas will face federal funding shortfalls in FY2008. Fifteen of those states, including Georgia, will exhaust federal matching funds by the end of October 2007.

While we are encouraged that both the House and Senate have voted to continue this critical health care effort, we are concerned that a consensus bill will not be agreed upon before the September 30 deadline. As the chairs of our respective partisan Governors associations, we implore the President and members of Congress from both parties resolve differences expeditiously and not allow partisan politics to thwart continuation of this vital program.

This effort to enhance the health of children is a bright spot in an otherwise troubled American health care system and we urge your continued support for it, and by extension, our nation’s children.

Sincerely,
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius


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