Washington, D.C. - After the House of Representatives voted today to uphold President Bush’s veto of a flawed Democrat children’s health bill, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged leaders in both parties to continue on the path toward a "workable, realistic, inclusive" children’s health care package, like the proposal he offered two weeks ago.
Enzi said the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a valuable program to Wyoming and reminded those who continue to use this issue for political gain that the Senate has already passed an extension of the current program, "so funding for SCHIP will continue despite the political wrangling that is raging all around us. The federal money for Wyoming’s program is safe and so are our children, but I want to ensure the program continues to be healthy for years to come. In fact, I voted in favor of expanding it twice."
"I think most of us understand that any plan that takes children already privately covered and transfers them to a federal program is a bad idea. I also think most Americans want our focus to be on low-income children. Hopefully this vote will bring Democrats back to the table, so we pass a bill we can all support. We don’t have that far to go, and I’ve co-sponsored a bill that can bridge the gap and help children," said Enzi. "If we are willing to hang up the gloves and suspend the politicking, even briefly, we can reach an agreement on a good bill the President can sign."
Enzi and a group of Republican Senators offered their own "workable, realistic and inclusive" children’s health care package on Oct. 4. The bill, the Kids First Act, S. 2152, would address health insurance to cover low-income children under the age of 19 and pregnant mothers, not middle income families or adults. The new plan would spend about $40 billion over the next five years.
"Poor children must have health insurance," Enzi said. "The compromise bill would provide federal funding for children in need and require that the money actually be spent on children from families with lower incomes. We focus our bill on needy children to ensure that all eligible children under the age of 19 have access to health insurance."