Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Women and children first

I’ve gotten this urgent call from several sources:

"This week, Congress is planning to vote on bills to expand children's health care through a new reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). While it is necessary for Congress to reauthorize SCHIP before current funding expires in March 2009, it is imperative that Congress passes a 2009 SCHIP bill that demonstrates our nation's priorities to children's access to health.

Under current law, legal immigrant children and pregnant women must wait five years before they become eligible for federally funded Medicaid and SCHIP. Congress can address this inequity by including the Legal Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) in the 2009 SCHIP reauthorization bill. Moreover, in these difficult economic times, Congress should be finding ways to help America's working families and states with tight budgets. ICHIA would provide fiscal relief to families as well as states and would be a key component of a strong health reform foundation.

The U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on a new State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill as early as today. The Senate is working on its SCHIP bill with a vote likely later this week. As of today, the Senate Finance Committee plans to send SCHIP to the full Senate on Thursday without ICHIA. As in the past, a minority of senators threatens to use anti-immigrant tactics to block inclusion of ICHIA in what should only be a debate about how best to provide health care to children.

Please immediately contact the following Finance Committee members. Tell these Senate Finance Committee Members that

Senate Finance Committee Members:

Member has been supportive in the past but has not confirmed support this year:
Max Baucus (D-MT), Chair
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Member's current position on ICHIA is unknown:
Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member
Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
John Ensign (R-NV)

The following members are supportive and have indicated they will vote "Yes" to ICHIA:
John Rockefeller (D-WV)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
If you have time, please thank them for their support.

For contact information for Senate Finance Members, please go to the website link below, scroll down, click on the member, call their office, and ask to speak to the HEALTH staff.

Other members of the Congress:
If you have additional time, please call your own two Senators and your Representative and let them know that their support for inclusion of ICHIA in SCHIP this week will be critical to the future of all children, not just immigrant children."

So why are you still reading? Go. Call.

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