09.27.07

Dole, Burr Call for Continuation of Children’s Health Program

Reject massive expansion of government-run health care

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr today called for a continuation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), due to expire at the end of this month. SCHIP provides health insurance to low-income children whom do not qualify for Medicaid. North Carolina's SCHIP program, North Carolina Health Choice for Children (NCHC), is widely regarded as one of the most successful in the United States.

Dole and Burr today voted to protect the original SCHIP from a massive expansion of government-run health care funded by a tobacco tax hike that would disproportionately affect North Carolina's economy. The legislation would more than double the size of SCHIP, spending $60 billion over the next five years, compared to $25 billion over the same period under current law. The program would add nearly 6 million children to the public dole, half of whom currently have health insurance. The bill would allow illegal immigrants to receive health care under SCHIP in addition to moving many insured, middle-class children into the government-run program.

With the President promising to veto the measure, children enrolled in SCHIP will lose coverage less than one hundred hours from now unless Congress and the President can reach a compromise.

"North Carolina has a model health insurance program for low-income children, and I do not want Washington politics to prevent their continued coverage," said Dole. "Extending the current program would ensure there is no gap in coverage for these children. With a sustained veto likely, I hope that Congress can come up with an acceptable and fiscally responsible reauthorization that stays true to SCHIP's original intent."

"I strongly support continuing the SCHIP program," Burr said. "We cannot allow this highly successful program to be used to force many Americans into a government-run health program. Over 122,000 North Carolina children are counting on SCHIP for health care. SCHIP must continue to help keep low-income children healthy and Congress should fully fund the good work going on in North Carolina and other states."

In addition to extending the program, Dole and Burr support improving the SCHIP funding formula, an important priority for North Carolina. NCHC is facing a $16.9 million federal funding shortfall this year. Increasing funding levels and adjusting the funding formula will ensure North Carolina has the money it needs to enroll every qualified child in SCHIP.

"I believe that every American deserves access to quality, affordable health care," Burr said. "Instead of moving towards a health care system run by the government, we should work to give every American the ability and resources to control their health care decisions. I will continue working for health care reform that increases consumer choice, lowers costs, and improves the quality of health care available to all Americans."

Burr introduced the Every American Insured Health Act in July with Dole and others. The legislation provides an avenue to ensure all Americans have health care coverage thereby reducing the number of uninsured Americans and lowering health care costs for all citizens. The proposal gives every American the right and resources to purchase health care in the free market and encourages individuals to take control of their own health.