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Contact: First Focus
Phone: 202-657-0670

New Poll Shows Widespread Support for Healthcare for Every Child


In tough economic times, new poll shows widespread support for healthcare for every child.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New polling data released today has revealed widespread support for a renewal of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by a margin of 82-10 percent. In addition, the survey indicates that, by a margin of 79-15 percent, a majority of Americans favor expanding SCHIP to cover legal immigrant children, who currently face a five year waiting period before they are eligible for health coverage under SCHIP. The poll was commissioned by First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) hailed the poll as evidence of the nation’s broad, bipartisan support for renewal of the SCHIP program, which expires in March, 2009.

“Last year, we saw the overwhelming bipartisan support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as Nevada Check-Up in my state. Unfortunately, President Bush stood in the way of extending and improving this important program. The findings announced today confirmed what we knew over a year ago – Americans support providing children with health care coverage and they understand the importance of removing the five-year waiting period for coverage for legal immigrant children and pregnant women. I will continue to work to achieve both goals,” said Senator Reid at the announcement.

“Together, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide the coverage necessary for children to see a doctor when they’re sick, receive immunizations for school, and gain access to the preventative screenings they need. Had President Bush signed either of the CHIP reauthorization bills overwhelmingly passed by Congress last year, at least 4,000 additional uninsured children in West Virginia and 4 million more nationwide would have gained insurance coverage. I look forward to working with President-elect Obama and the Congressional leadership to quickly reauthorize CHIP so that millions of uninsured children – including legal immigrant children – receive the health coverage they need,” Senator Rockefeller said.

The poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners, a national public opinion and political strategy research firm. The national survey was conducted on the eve of the 2008 presidential elections. It consisted of 1,200 respondents, 1,000 landlines and 200 cell phones. Approximately 49 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 39 percent as Republicans, and 11 as independents.

“We conducted this poll on the eve of the most important election in modern history because we wanted to get a clear sense of what was on American voters’ minds as they went to the polls,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus. “The results were undeniable, as an unprecedented majority of Americans indicated they support the renewal of this important program essential to the health of our children. Moreover, nearly as many Americans, 79 percent, support providing health coverage to legal immigrant children, an issue SCHIP opponents have made the centerpiece of their attacks on the program. Without a doubt, these numbers clearly indicate that this is not a concern of the American public.”

Other key findings of the poll include:

  • By a margin of 65-10, Americans would be more supportive of SCHIP if they knew the funding would come form an increase in the federal tobacco tax.
  • By a margin of 67-19, Americans support eliminating the five year waiting period for legal immigrant children, which is currently in effect.