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House Passes Expanded Children's Health Insurance

With an overwheming bipartisan vote of 265-159, the House has just passed the final House-Senate agreement to reauthorize the successful Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), H.R. 976, for an additional five years. CHIP provides health coverage to American children whose parents do not qualify for Medicaid, but can not afford private insurance. This bill will bring health coverage to approximately ten million children in need — preserving coverage for all 6.6 million children currently covered by CHIP, and reaching millions more low-income, uninsured American children in the next five years.

Chairman Charlie Rangel:
“And that’s our investment and whether you’re liberal or conservetive, Republican or Democrat, no one can challenge that our most precious human beings are those who cannot protect themselves. We have this opportunity to join with the Speaker as she closes this argument to set aside the partisanship and to be able to say no matter what our differences, it was the children — it was the children that prevailed, and I voted with them.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
“I’m reminded of the Bible tonight, and I speak with all of the sincerity and all of the hope to President Bush in the hope that he will change his mind. To dig deeply into his heart and think about the children in America who don’t have healthcare. Because if not, I think that the President is giving new meaning to the words, ‘suffer, little children.’ Suffer, little children, if your parents can’t afford health insurance. But they’re working hard and they’re not on Medicaid, but you will suffer because they’re struggling to give you the best possible future. Suffer, little children if your family has played by the rules and they’ve come to this country and you are here as a legal immigrant, because if you are sick, you will not get healthcare unless your parents can afford private insurance. Suffer, little children if you are sick, because you haven’t had the proper nutrition, the proper prevention, the proper early intervention to your affliction, and you should go directly to the emergency room. But until you can get into that emergency room with enough of a serious illness, you will suffer. That’s just not right.”
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