ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would make significant strides toward covering over half of the nation’s nine million uninsured children. Introduced by Congressmen Dingell, Rangel, Pallone, and Stark, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act (the CHAMP Act) provides $50 billion to reauthorize and improve the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This allocation will protect the healthcare coverage of the six million children currently covered by CHIP, in addition to assuring coverage for approximately five million new eligible but uninsured children.

First Focus President Bruce Lesley made the following remarks:

“The debate before the Congress is about one very simple thing, ‘What is the best thing for our nation’s children?’

Fortunately, the CHAMP Act includes virtually everything necessary to constitute a very important step to improve children’s healthcare, as it extends critical health services to an estimated five million American children who currently are without health insurance.

The evidence is clear that children with health coverage are healthier, do better in school, and have a better chance to grow and succeed in life. Passage of this bill is a critical step toward ensuring that all of our nation’s children have access to the health care they need to live healthy and prosperous lives.

Simply put, SCHIP has worked for American families. It’s reauthorization through the CHAMP Act will result in more children receiving checkups, vaccinations, flu shots, and the preventative care they need.

It is encouraging to see our members of Congress investing in a healthy start for our children’s future. I am heartened by this effort to do right by 11 million of our nation’s kids. After all, the funding provided in this legislation only constitutes one-third of one percent of the federal budget.

Unfortunately, this great victory for the health and well being of children remains in the shadow of a veto threat by President Bush. The President’s singling out children is truly inexplicable. If the Medicare prescription drug benefit is good for our nation’s senior citizens, certainly we can do better for our nation’s children, and like Medicare, SCHIP is the most popular and successful children’s program in over a decade. Failure to act will threaten the health and well-being of 11 million children.”

summary of the legislation can be found here