January 14, 2009
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers,
On House Passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program Act
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the State Children's Health Insurance Program Act (H.R. 2). The bill reauthorizes the SCHIP program, which continues healthcare coverage for 6.5 million low-income children and grants eligibility for an additional 4 million poor children.
WASHINGTON–The AFT commends the House for reauthorizing and expanding the SCHIP program, as well as for allowing states the flexibility to extend coverage to children of legal immigrants. With millions of additional families being pushed into poverty by the economic downturn, this bill is an absolute necessity. Access to healthcare not only improves a child's physical well-being, but also the likelihood of success in school. Children's health and education are inextricably linked, and expansion of SCHIP is essential, especially in these difficult economic times.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.