Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today appeared before the Senate Finance Committees hearing on the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Sen. Cardin introduced the Bedford family from Baltimore, Md. to the Senate Finance Committee before they testified about their experience with SCHIP.
I believe we urgently need universal health coverage in our nation, said Sen. Cardin. But until we get there, we need to strengthen the SCHIP program because it helps to protect children who would otherwise be left without health care. There are numerous studies showing that enrollment in the SCHIP program improves the health of the children who are enrolled, along with their families, and the communities in which they live. Children in the program are far more likely to receive regular primary medical and dental care, and they are less likely to use the emergency room for visits that could be handled in a physicians office.
Kim Lee and Craig Bedford were the first witnesses at the hearing which Chairman Max Bachus convened to examine the 10-year-old SCHIP program.
Perhaps the greatest impact MCHIP has had on our family medically is that we no longer have to make impossible health choices based on a financial perspective. We no longer have to decide whether a child is really sick enough to warrant a doctors visit, said Kim Lee Bedford.
SCHIP was created to reduce the number of low-income, uninsured children. It is aimed at children living in families who can not afford health care, but whose income exceeds the Medicare eligibility limits. Funds are allocated each year, and states have three years to use their allocation or their money will be redistributed to states which have already spent all of their SCHIP funds.