Thursday, February 13th 2003
Dear Member of Congress:
The undersigned organizations are writing to express our strong support for the bipartisan legislation introduced to restore funding to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Health care providers in communities across the nation have witnessed first-hand the solid progress that SCHIP has made in getting health care services to more of America’s children. It is critical that this progress be maintained by protecting SCHIP funds.
In fiscal year 2002, $1.2 billion in SCHIP funds reverted to the federal treasury. Last year Congress failed to pass a bipartisan consensus proposal to keep these funds from expiring. In addition, at the end of fiscal 2003, another $1.5 billion in SCHIP funding is due to revert to the treasury. The legislation introduced by Representatives Tauzin (R-LA) and Dingell (D-MI) and Senators Snowe (R-ME) and Rockefeller (D-WV) would restore these funds through fiscal year 2004.
The majority of states are facing their most difficult fiscal situation in decades, giving them little or no hope of making up for SCHIP funding shortfalls. Many states would have no choice but to cut SCHIP enrollment, a devastating step backward for a program that was showing such progress in addressing the problems of the uninsured.
We urge swift enactment of the bipartisan legislation to restore SCHIP funds. Allowing these funds to lapse would be a life-threatening disservice to the many families who have no place else to turn for their care.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
American Hospital Association
Association of American Medical Colleges
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Federation of American Hospitals
Healthcare Financial Management Association
Healthcare Leadership Council
National Association of Children’s Hospitals
National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
National Association of Urban Hospitals