FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement by Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, on Failure of the House to Override Presidential Veto of SCHIP Legislation
This Administration strongly supports the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, as an important safety net to provide health insurance to low-income children whose families cannot afford private insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. Both as a Governor at the program’s inception and today as Secretary I know what this program has done for millions of children. To build on that success, the President proposed a 20 percent funding increase for SCHIP to extend coverage for children already in the program and to sign up the remaining 500,000 low-income children who haven’t yet enrolled.
Today Members of Congress saw the wisdom in putting children from low-income families at the front of the SCHIP line, giving another chance to get this right. I will continue to work with Members to stay true to the principle that poor children should come first in public assistance programs like SCHIP.
The President has asked me to join with National Economic Council Director Al Hubbard and OMB Director Jim Nussle in leading the Administration’s discussions with Congress on the SCHIP legislation.
To all Members of Congress, the Administration offers an open door. We look forward to helping craft legislation that we can all support. We have many areas of agreement and I’m hopeful that we can soon find consensus on the issues that divide us and then get on to the broader task of ensuring every American has access to an affordable health insurance plan.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 20, 2009