Former Speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation (CHT) Newt Gingrich told a group of conservative Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill that while he understood how important the current debate in the Congress over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is to shaping the future of healthcare in America, he was insistent that Congress not lose sight of the hundreds of thousands of poor children currently enrolled in SCHIP and urged them to work to ensure that they will not lose their coverage because of congressional action.

Gingrich’s remarks were made to the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS), a group of conservative, free-market members of Congress which he helped create in the 1980’s.

The central topic of this morning’s discussion were focused on SCHIP and the programs in more than a dozen states due to run out of money in just twelve days.

It has been reported that if the Congress fails to act, health insurance coverage for hundreds of thousands of children will likely be terminated.

“The disruption in care, and the pain and upheaval this will cause for families across the country would be unconscionable.” Gingrich told lawmakers. “But it is also avoidable.”

Gingrich said that Congress can and should protect these children by passing a six-month extension of the program in its current form. The former Speaker advised that a “clean” six-month extension would give members of Congress the time and opportunity to consider more carefully the future of SCHIP and its role in providing health insurance coverage for children.

Gingrich urged the member to not let the health of America’s poorest children fall victim to the politics and often bitter debate in Congress over how expansive SCHIP should be.

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