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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Boozman Shares New Plan Puts Needy Children First

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Boozman (R-AR) today joined with House Republicans to put forward a compromise plan to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which expands the program, guarantees needy children are first in line, and strengthens citizenship requirements for beneficiaries.

“After two weeks of delay, we now have the opportunity to start meaningful negotiations on how we can ensure that low income children get the health care they need,” Boozman said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in taking the first step toward an SCHIP solution which has the support of Americans, the Congress, and the President. I believe it is essential to have a solution that will continue to cover those who need it the most and offer some assistance to families that still lack health insurance. It is my hope the House leadership takes our good-faith proposal to heart and ceases its delay at substantive discussions on how to responsibly expand this important program.”

The More Children, More Choices Act of 2007 would expand SCHIP funding by a total of $11.5 billion, more than twice the amount proposed by President Bush. The funding plan calls for $8.5 billion to be used to cover all children enrolled in SCHIP, while spending $3 billion to reach out, find, and enroll other children eligible for, but not receiving, SCHIP benefits. Second, the bill would offer $1,400 per child tax credits to those families between 200%-300% of the federal poverty level to help them purchase the coverage that best meets their needs. Also, the bill would create a Commission to give grants to states with the most innovative solutions to covering their state’s uninsured.

“I have always been in support of an expansion of this program so that we can cover the children falling through the cracks,” Boozman said. “I believe this plan does just that, and does it in a responsible manner.” The legislation also prohibits states from providing coverage to those making more than 200% of the poverty level, unless the state is able to demonstrate that it has enrolled at least 90% of the SCHIP eligible children in the state’s program.

“The fundamental priority of SCHIP is putting needy children first, and I am proud we are putting that guarantee back in this new SCHIP plan after it was removed from the one the President vetoed,” Boozman said. “A majority of Americans have said needy kids should be first in line, and it only makes sense that a children’s health care plan created specifically for needy children should be reauthorized in a manner that guarantees those very children are covered first.”

Another provision of the legislation is the strengthening of citizenship documentation requirements, guaranteeing that illegal immigrants can not receive SCHIP benefits. “My constituents in the 3rd District are adamantly opposed to illegal immigrants being able to acquire a government benefit, as are many Arkansans," Boozman said. “This is an important provision that has always been a requirement of any SCHIP plan that I would support.”

Boozman added that he hopes Congress can begin discussions immediately. “It is important that we begin the process of finding a solution as soon as possible. Members of both parties support SCHIP and all of us wish to see the program reauthorized,” Boozman said. “We now have the opportunity to make this program even better. While upholding our promise to children under 200% of the federal poverty level, we can also offer more patient choice with a tax credit, while at the same time encouraging the testing of new health care solutions for all the uninsured.”

Tags: Arkansas, John Boozman, Representative, SCHIP, US House
Posted by Bill Smith at 7:01 PM - Post Link


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