Catholic Charities USA applauds House passage of modified children's health bill


Alexandria, VA, Oct 26, 2007 / 10:28 am (CNA).- "Catholic Charities USA applauds Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle who came together to craft compromise legislation to reauthorize SCHIP," said Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. The legislation-which modifies a bill vetoed by the President earlier this month-would still provide quality and affordable health care to nearly 10 million of the neediest children in our nation.

Renewing this vital program will provide health access to four million more uninsured children.  It also ensures that the 6 million children who are currently depending on SCHIP for medications and necessary medical procedures will continue being covered.

"The successful vote for the bipartisan compromise is not only a stand for low-income children, it is a stand for the future strength of our community, our country, and the common good.  The House vote today shows the leadership necessary to protect vulnerable, low-income children in our country, said Father Snyder.

The new bill will still provide $35 billion over five years to keep children already receiving health care coverage, and provide insurance to nearly four million more children whose health is at risk due to lack of proper health coverage. Additionally, the bill addresses some concerns over the previous legislation by clarifying who is eligible for health care and focusing on low-income children. The bill outlines a future maximum eligibility at 300 percent of the federal poverty level, while still preserving existing eligibility levels for any states that have been previously approved to expand its program.

"Catholic Charities USA urges the Senate and our President to support our nation's children and approve this bill," said Father Snyder.

Improving public policies that promote the health of children in the United States is a key component of Catholic Charities USA's Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America, which aims to cut poverty in half by 2020.

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