Legislation Estimated to Provide 56,000 Additional Children in Mass. With Health Care Coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today issued the following statement after the House passed the final version of a historic expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The bill will now head to President Obama’s desk where it will be signed. Rep. Markey is a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has oversight responsibility for SCHIP.

"I strongly support the Senate-amended version of the vital Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009.

I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this important legislation to expand the highly successful State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This bill will provide health insurance to an additional 4 million low-income children on top of the nearly 7 million who already benefit from the program. CHIPRA also improves access to dental care and mental health services and includes provisions to improve quality of care and utilize health information technology for children.

In my home state, SCHIP enrollment is part of the reason why Massachusetts has the lowest rate of uninsured children in the country. More than 180,000 Massachusetts children receive health coverage through SCHIP, and this reauthorization will allow the state to cover about 56,000 more Massachusetts children who currently do not have health insurance.

It is unfortunate that two previous attempts to reauthorize SCHIP were vetoed by President Bush, who chose to side with big corporations over children. With the current economic crisis causing significant job losses, millions of Americans also are losing their health coverage, making today's vote even more urgent.

While President Bush twice dashed the hopes of millions of low-income families in need of health care for their children, the Obama administration recognizes the value of ensuring that all low-income children get the health care they need."

#  #  #


February 4, 2009

CONTACT: Daniel Reilly (202) 225-2836