– U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, today commended the Senate for swift passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization bill saying “enactment of this measure is critical the health and well being of America’s children.” The bill passed the Senate today by a vote of
67 to 29, and passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 265 to 159.
Senator Cardin singled out the inclusion of a guaranteed dental benefit as “an essential benefit that all children deserve.”
The bill provides for dental services necessary to prevent disease and promote oral health, restore oral structures to health and function and treat emergency conditions.
“Earlier this year, a Maryland youngster, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, died from a brain infection caused by a tooth abscess.
Treating a cavity takes very little time or effort, but the death of a child from tooth decay is a national tragedy we must make sure never happens again,” he said.
In Maryland, this bill would fully fund the 101,000 children currently enrolled in MCHP. It also would provide funding to expand health coverage to approximately 42,000 Maryland children who are currently uninsured. Forty-three of the nation’s governors have urged President Bush to sign the bill.
“I urge the President to reconsider his veto threat and sign this bill so that we can ensure that America’s children have access to quality health care,” said Senator Cardin.
President Bush has said he will veto the children’s health measure despite overwhelming bipartisan support.
The CHIP bill passed by Congress will:
Provide an additional $35 billion over five years in new funding for the CHIP program;
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.