Health Insurance :: US supports reauthorization of State Children’s Health Insurance Program SCHIP

Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, issued a statement on Senate Finance Committee Markup of the Children?s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2007.

This Administration supports reauthorization of State Children?s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). We do not support a massive expansion of government-run health care and higher taxes, as the Senate Finance Committee bill proposes.

This bill spends too much money with too little actual gain in insurance coverage for children — almost one half of whom already have private insurance. It moves more than a million people with good incomes off private insurance and onto public assistance. Five years later, it cuts outlays for the program in half, causing any temporary gains in coverage for children to be lost.

We are ready to renew our commitment to low income children today, but we cannot agree to a gradual government take-over of health care — and neither will the American people. By sending the President a bill he cannot sign, members of the Committee are putting at risk millions of needy children who would lose their health insurance when funding expires Sept. 30, 2007.

We can do better. Let?s reauthorize SCHIP for the low-income children it was intended to serve, but let?s couple that with a plan to get every American insured — not by expanding government programs but by organizing the marketplace to make private health insurance more affordable.

The President has proposed an alternative that government actuaries estimate would result in 20-25 million Americans gaining insurance. We stand ready to aggressively pursue legislation during the current Congress. Our goal must be that our great nation has every American insured.

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