Thursday, October 11, 2007

SCHIP Update from NC Council of Churches

Raleigh Report Network--As you know, we rarely deal with federal issues, having our hands full with state matters. However, the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program directly impacts our efforts to get health care for all children in North Carolina. As you probably know, President Bush last week vetoed this bill, which had been passed by significant and bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress. The effort now is to get Congress to override the veto. Advocates for children's health are focusing in North Carolina on Reps. Bob Etheridge, Mike McIntyre, and Robin Hayes.

The following information is from the Coalition on Human Needs, in Washington, though many other organizations are circulating similar calls to action. (And several toll-free 800 numbers are circulating as well. This one, as you will see, is provided courtesy of the good folks at the American Friends Service Committee.) I will also attach a brief sheet of "talking points" from Faithful Reform in Health Care.

A specific NC wrinkle on this issue is that the vetoed bill would have funded children's health insurance by a 61 cent per pack increase in the federal cigarette tax. Adam Searing, with the Health Access Coalition, makes the following points: 1) A 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax to fund the program means 3-4 times more money for NC in increased funding for children’s health insurance than we will ever lose from the increase in the cost of cigarettes. 2) NC farmers and quota holders are in the process of getting over $11 billion in direct payments from the tobacco buyout and the national tobacco settlement. Isn’t it about time we helped children – especially of workers in other industries who are losing health care?

Please take a minute to communicate with your members of Congress about this most important veto override vote, scheduled for next week. Thanks.

George Reed
NC Council of Churches
Will you pick up the phone so millions of kids can go to a doctor?
The President's veto stands in the way of providing health coverage to nearly 4 million uninsured children. The President's veto would stop them from joining the millions of children now helped by the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). On October 18, the U.S. House will vote on overriding that veto so these millions of children can get care. Rejecting the veto takes a two-thirds vote. It will be close. That's why your call is so important. Please call your Representative on Tuesday, October 16Toll-free number: 1-800-965-4701Ask for your Representative's office* - Urge him/her to vote to provide health coverage to millions of uninsured children by overriding the veto of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 976). *If you don't know your Rep's name: (enter your zip code, upper left side)See how your Rep. voted on final passage of the children's health bill: If your Rep. voted no, or didn't vote, your call is especially important - some of the no votes or absences must be turned around in order to get to two-thirds. We can get there - if you and your neighbors call!Why you should call even if you're sure your Representative will vote in favor of the billWe need a huge volume of calls - enough to convince everyone that people are watching and want children to have health care. That tells proponents their constituents want them to keep fighting.Angry? Determined? enough to call?The New York Times today reports that "conservative bloggers" are spreading lies about 12 year-old Graeme Frost, who gamely spoke up in favor of SCHIP because that program in Maryland provided him with essential medical care to treat a brain injury from a 2004 car accident. The bloggers accused Graeme's father of refusing to buy insurance for his six children even though he owned his own woodworking business. In fact, that business was dissolved in 1999. They said their home had undergone substantial remodeling and was worth about $400,000. In fact, it's valued at $260,000. They pointed out that Graeme goes to a private school. True, but on scholarship.Mr. and Mrs. Frost both work; they own property. They are not poor. They earn about $45,000 a year - exactly the kind of family for whom SCHIP was designed. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that of the 3.8 million uninsured children who would gain coverage under the bill the President vetoed, 84 percent have family incomes below the current eligibility guidelines. The rest would have somewhat higher incomes because some states would expand eligibility.The President and other opponents of covering more uninsured children through SCHIP have said the bill departs from the original purpose of covering the poor. Wrong - SCHIP was always intended to serve families above poverty, allowing states to set their own eligibility levels. But the new legislation puts more constraints on states than current law - if states want to set eligibility at above 300 percent of the poverty line (about $60,000 for a family of four), they'll get less federal funding. Learn the facts: The toll-free number is provided courtesy of American Friends Service Committee.AFSC welcomes groups to circulate and use the toll-free number in support of non-partisan federal goals and without linking the alert to a website soliciting donations or actions which may be used to support partisan lobbying or work.Thanks!=======================
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1 comment:

Adam said...

Thanks Jack - Let's turn those votes.