WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Betty Sutton spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 2, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act. This legislation renews and improves SCHIP, providing health care coverage for 11 million children across the Nation. Congresswoman Sutton is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 2 and with her strong support this legislation passed the House by a margin of 289 to139. Congresswoman Sutton released the following statement:
"This legislation is long overdue for our nation's children. And I want to share a story about a girl from my district that puts this issue all into perspective.
I met Rose and her mother at an event one weekend back in my district in Ohio. I will never forget the moment when her mom introduced her to me. She looked up at me full of hope and in a moment, she reached out and she hugged me. After Rose walked away her mom explained to me that her daughter had cancer and was preparing for a bone marrow transplant. Before I could even digest what their family was going through, Dawn, her mother said:
"When are you guys going to pass SCHIP? Because Rose has insurance, but there are a lot of kids in this country who don't. And they deserve the same opportunity for a future.
And Dawn was right. Nearly 9 millions children in this country do not have health insurance. These kids should have the same opportunity to get the healthcare that they need. In the midst of fighting cancer with her daughter, Dawn found the courage and compassion to look beyond her struggle, to stand up for kids across this nation without health insurance.
I share this story because today we have the opportunity to look beyond all differences to finally pass this legislation. The bill before us allows an additional 4 million children across the country - which includes 20,000 children in Ohio - to obtain health insurance.
And the urgency could not be more clear. With an ailing economy, the population of uninsured is growing. And we know that a one percent increase in unemployment is projected to increase the number of uninsured by 1.1 million. In these difficult economic times, the least we can do is make sure that our children have access to the healthcare they deserve.
I am pleased to report that Rose has received her bone marrow transplant, and her eyes and her future are bright. Our children are our future and every child deserves the kind of care that Rose received. This is why I cannot stress enough the importance of passing the State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. I urge my colleagues to vote yes on this critical and essential legislation."
The State Children's Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) was created in 1997 to provide health care coverage for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. It has proven to be a successful and cost-effective program for providing health care to our nation's children.
H.R. 2 renews and improves SCHIP, providing health care coverage for a total of 11 million children. It preserves coverage for the 7 million children currently covered by SCHIP and extends coverage to 4 million uninsured children who are currently eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid. More than 230,000 children in Ohio are currently covered by SCHIP and today's legislation will allow 20,000 more children to obtain coverage.
H.R. 2 reauthorizes SCHIP for four and a half years, through Fiscal Year 2013.