AAFP Statement: American Academy of Family Physicians Urges President to Sign SCHIP Reauthorization Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 28, 2007
Statement attributable to:
Rick Kellerman, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians
“The American Academy of Family Physicians commends the U.S. Congress for passing the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. With this vote, Congress has done its part to continue a program that currently gives 6 million low-income children access to needed health services through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
“The legislation garnered bipartisan support because its provisions meet several needs. By adding $35 billion to the program over five years, Congress ensures SCHIP’s ongoing financial viability. Without the increase, SCHIP programs would be forced to drop 800,000 children from its current enrollment. In its current form, the bill preserves these youngsters’ access to health care and extends that coverage to more uninsured, low-income children.
“At the same time, this legislation promotes health and pays for itself through a 61-cent per-pack increase in federal taxes on cigarettes. Thus, not only will the reauthorization pay for its own expansion, but also it will discourage smoking and other tobacco use that pose a health risk to youth, as well as to adults.
“Americans recognize that children are the future of our nation. Recent polls have shown that Americans want children to be covered by health insurance. A July 2007 bipartisan survey by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute found 90 percent of Americans want Congress to help states cover more of the country’s uninsured children and expand the program to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are equivalent to 300 percent of federal poverty levels. An August Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll found that 58 percent of U.S. adults agreed that expanding SCHIP was a good idea, particularly since it has successfully reduced the number of uninsured children during the 10 years since its inception. And a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation poll, also conducted in August, reported that 86 percent of respondents supported reauthorization of SCHIP; 63 percent said they supported expanding the program’s budget by $35 billion.
“Congress has acted. Now it is up to President Bush. The American Academy of Family Physicians, which represents 93,800 family physicians and students across the country, calls on President Bush to support this bipartisan program and approve the final agreement that is sent to his desk for signature.”
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
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