Friday, August 2nd 2002
Honorable John Dingell
Committee on Energy and Commerce
US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Dingell:
With broad bipartisan support in Congress there is an opportunity to increase access to appropriate and affordable health care for pregnant women and their infants. We urge the Committee on Energy and Commerce to take up legislation to accomplish this goal this year.
The organizations listed below support legislation that would give states the ability to enroll income eligible pregnant women in their State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP). Several bills now pending before the Energy and Commerce Committee would provide states the option of using SCHIP funds for extending coverage to currently uninsured pregnant women. As you may know, by unanimous vote the Committee on Finance recently reported a proposal, which would provide states with the option of covering income eligible pregnant women 19 and older.
Over the past several years the Congress has been instrumental in moving legislation that has improved access to health insurance through Medicaid and SCHIP. Despite this progress, a disproportionate number of women continue to lack access to affordable coverage.
Several bills have been introduced which would, in part, give states the option of covering approximately 41,000 low-income pregnant women in SCHIP and to automatically enroll their newborns in the program. Following, in the order in which they were introduced and referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee, these bills include:
- HR 2610, the “Mothers and Newborns Health Insurance Act of 2001,” introduced by Representatives Lowey (D-NY), Hyde (R-IL) and Murtha (D-PA) and cosponsored by 60 Members of the House. This initiative has been unanimously endorsed by the National Governors’ Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and twenty-five national organizations listed below.
- HR 2630, the “Family Care Act of 2001,” introduced by you and cosponsored by 49 Members of the House.
- HR 3675, the “Improved Maternal and Children’s Health Coverage Act of 2002,” introduced by Congresswoman DeGette (D-CO) and cosponsored by 65 Members of the House.
- HR 3729, the “Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Act of 2002,” introduced by Representatives Strickland (D-OH) and Ney (R-OH) and cosponsored by 38 Members of the House.
The Bush Administration is also supportive of a legislative approach. Once again, we urge you to broaden access to health insurance for uninsured pregnant women this year.
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Nurse Midwives
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
American Osteopathic Associations
American Public Health Association
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (formerly the American Association of University Affiliated Programs)
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
Catholic Health Association
Council of Women’s and Infants’ Specialty Hospitals
Greater New York Hospital Association
March of Dimes
National Association of Children’s Hospitals
National Association of Public Hospitals & Health Systems
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Women’s Health Network
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Spina Bifida Association of America
The Guttmacher Institute
United Cerebral Palsy Associations
This letter was also sent to the Honorable W.J. Tauzin