HAGERSTOWN, MD – At a press conference surrounded by health care advocates from Western Maryland
, U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, today called on Congress to override the President’s veto of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) bill.
The Senate voted by a 67-to-29 margin to approve the measure, a veto-proof majority.
The House approved the measure on Sept. 25 by a vote of 265 to 159, but will need two-thirds of voting members to override a presidential veto. The House is scheduled to vote on the override on Oct. 18.
“In vetoing the CHIP bill, President Bush has made clear that the health of America’s children is not a priority,” said Senator Cardin. “The President claims he is vetoing the bill because it is too expensive.
But one month of what we spend in Iraq would provide health care to 7.4 million children.
The Senate has the votes to override his veto, but the House may not.
I urge all Americans to contact their members of Congress and urge them to override the President’s veto.”
“As Executive Director of a small not- for-profit organization that provides assistance for low-income families, I have found adequate health care is a major concern for the clients we serve,” said David G. Jordan, Executive Director of the Washington County Community Action Council, Inc. “Many of our clients are working families in low-paying jobs that do not include health insurance. If not for the CHIP program, many of these families would not have health coverage for an important asset of our future, our children.”
A Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative poll released last week clearly indicated strong support for CHIP in Western Maryland.
The poll showed that 59% of residents in Western Maryland support CHIP.
Today, more than 100,000 children in Maryland from working families receive affordable, comprehensive health care through CHIP.
In Western Maryland — Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties — more than 10,400 children depend on the program for their health care.
This bipartisan measure would provide health care for an additional 42,000 uninsured Maryland children, and more than 3.8 million children nationwide.
The CHIP bill that was vetoed by the President would:
Provide an additional $35 billion over five years in new funding for CHIP;
Provide health care to an additional 3.8 million low-income children;
Provide a guaranteed dental benefit to children enrolled in CHIP;
Provide for mental health services; and,
Provide a funding source by increasing the federal excise tax to 61 cents on a pack of cigarettes.