Sanders Blasts Bush Assault on Children's Health

Senator Bernie Sanders condemned as "sick" a new Bush administration executive order imposing restrictions on a popular children's health insurance program.

Senator Bernie Sanders condemned as "sick" a new Bush administration executive order imposing restrictions on a popular children's health insurance program.

The new rules will thwart efforts by Vermont and other states to expand health care and could leave some 2,000 Vermont children who are currently enrolled without coverage.

"It is outrageous that President Bush is slamming the doctors' office door on sick children," said Sanders, a member of the Senate health committee.

"We are the only major nation which does not provide health insurance for all children. Instead of throwing kids off health care, Bush should be working with us to cover more kids," Sanders added. "Frankly, even for the Bush administration this is a new low. While he pushes for billions in tax breaks for the richest 1 percent, he is throwing kids off of the health insurance they already have. What a set of priorities!"

In a letter to state health officials, the Bush administration outlined new federal rules that limit access to the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Sanders said the new eligibility restrictions could be especially devastating in Vermont. About 2,000 of the 3,000 children enrolled in the Dr. Dynasaur program could lose coverage or the state would have to pay the entire amount for their insurance.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program was created in 1997 to help children whose families couldn't afford insurance but didn't qualify for Medicaid.

Both the Senate and House have passed legislation that would expand the program. Sanders has been a leader in the Senate effort to provide health care for more children.