The California Medical Association criticized President Bush’s veto of a bill to extend health coverage to children, calling the move a huge setback for access to health care for millions of children.
The congressional bill called for increased tobacco taxes to fund an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), allocating $60 billion over five years to cover an estimated 9 million to 10 million children, an increase from about 6 million now enrolled.
In California, the program is called Healthy Families, and covers about 800,000 children.
“The CMA believes that the health of our children should be our national priority,” said CMA President Anmol S. Mahal, M.D. “President Bush, while overseeing an annual budget of trillions of dollars for this country, has astonished us by denying the poor children of this country the $12 billion a year it would take to cover needed health care services for America’s children. CMA urges Congress to remain committed to all children in the United States by overriding the President’s veto.”
The SCHIP program helps to fund immunizations, preventive care and hospitalization to children of the poor and working poor parents. These services are critical to providing health care to these children and to keeping overall health care costs down.