Poll - Health Care for All ChildrenNew polling data released by First Focus has revealed that a majority of Americans support expanding SCHIP to cover legal immigrant children by a margin of 79-15 percent. Currently, legal immigrant children and pregnant women face a five year waiting period before they are eligible for SCHIP coverage. In addition, the survey finds that a majority of Americans favor renewing SCHIP by a margin of 82-10 percent.

Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and 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 Harry 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.