FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement by Mike Leavitt Secretary of Health and Human Services Regarding President Bush’s Veto of SCHIP Bill
Nearly a year ago President Bush proposed a 20 percent increase in funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, to help children in poor families that cannot afford private insurance, yet are ineligible for Medicaid. That’s just one part of a comprehensive plan he offered to expand the availability of health insurance for millions of Americans.
Rather than refocusing SCHIP on the children it was intended to help, the Congressional majority decided to pursue a different and irresponsible approach. These lawmakers want to raise taxes in order to encourage millions of individuals, many in middle-class families, to drop their existing private coverage and enroll in this public assistance program. The President rightly vetoed this legislation again today.
It’s unfortunate that Congressional leaders walked away from this Administration’s offer to work together to develop an SCHIP reauthorization that Congress could support and that the President could sign. It’s equally disappointing that, in doing so, they also lost an opportunity to make health insurance more affordable for all Americans.
If Congress cannot produce an SCHIP bill that the President can sign, lawmakers should extend the program with enough funds to ensure that children currently served by the program will continue to receive their benefits. Here at HHS we’ll do our part by continuing to work with states in an effort to ensure continuity of care.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 20, 2009