Local government organizations rally behind child health care bill
At least three Washington-based local and state government organizations are urging their members to tell their Congressional representatives to vote for expanded funding of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which helps low-income families pay for health insurance for their children. While Congress approved the SCHIP bill this week, President Bush has threatened to veto it.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the National League of Cities sent letters to Congress supporting House and Senate versions of the SCHIP bill, which would provide $60 billion in funding for the program over the next five years. While SCHIP funding has been temporarily extended until mid-November, NGA contends in its letter that “a series of temporary extensions … would be untenable” for states for many reasons, none of which were specified in the letter.
While the Bush administration contends it strongly supports the reauthorization of SCHIP, it says the current bill “goes too far toward federalizing health care.” “[The bill] turns a program meant to help low-income children into one that covers children in households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year,” according to a Statement of Administration Policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget.