WASHINGTON - August 31 - The Children's Defense Fund today commended California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer for issuing a joint letter to President Bush calling for the withdrawal of harsh new State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) rules recently imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) thatwill substantially increase the number of uninsured children. The letter says these new rules will "set Medicaid and state programs back 40 years" and demands that these new rules "be withdrawn."
"I applaud Governors Spitzer and Schwarzenegger for standing up to the President and demanding that we break down these new barriers and work to cover more of the nine million uninsured children in America," said CDF President Marian Wright Edelman. "These new rules put forth by the Bush Administration without Congressional approval are unjust and move in exactly the wrong direction. It is shameful that despite overwhelming public support to expand health coverage for children, the President appears to be doing everything in his power to prevent children from getting the critical health coverage they need. Telling uninsured children to go to the emergency room for care when they are already seriously ill is not a solution worthy of the richest nation in the world; we can and must do better for America's children."
The letter issued by Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Spitzer outlines how the new CMS rules greatly inhibit states’ ability to provide health coverage to needy children, saying "…the rules proposed by CMS would install thresholds that are impossible to meet for nearly every state." It continues "…your administration has repeatedly modified existing Medicaid and SCHIP rules, harming states' capacity to help you achieve our shared objectives." Their statement comes on the heels of newly released U.S. Census data showing that in 2006 there were more than 700,000 more uninsured children than there were in 2005.
"As a result of the new federal rules, New York's planned expansion, scheduled to take effect on September 1, 2007, is now in jeopardy, preventing thousands of children from obtaining needed health coverage," said Jennifer Marino Rojas, Deputy Director of the Children's Defense Fund- New York. "The Bush Administration is placing needy children in the crossfire of a political battle with Congress."
"These new Bush Administration rules stand to roll back much of the progress that California has made in providing health coverage to its children," said Kim Brettschneider, Interim Director of Children's Defense Fund-CA. "We thank Governor Schwarzenegger for standing up to President Bush so that California will be able to finish the job and provide every child with health coverage."
Rojas and Brettschneider issued the following joint statement in response to the Governors' letter:
"We applaud Governor Spitzer and Governor Schwarzenegger for standing up to the Bush Administration on this issue, and we hope that other governors and elected officials will join them and put our children’s health before politics."
For more information on the Children's Defense Fund’s Healthy Child Campaign to provide health coverage to the more than nine million uninsured children, visit www.childrensdefense.org/healthychild.
To find out more about CDF-NY, visit http://www.cdfny.org/
To find out more about CDF-CA, visit http://www.cdfca.org/