Legislation to block implementation of a Bush administration executive order jeopardizing health insurance coverage for children was introduced Wednesday by Senator Bernie Sanders. The Department of Health and Human Services last month sent letters to state health agencies announcing that it was slapping new restrictions on participation in the Children's Health Insurance Program. In Vermont, more than two-thirds of the 3,000-some children now enrolled in Dr. Dynasaur could lose coverage.
The new restrictions have been described as "so draconian as to be unattainable." The Sanders Amendment would declare them "null and void." Vermont and other states once again would be allowed to insure children from middle-income families unable to find affordable health coverage.
"At a time when the United States is the only country in the industrialized world that does not provide health care for all of our children, it is beyond comprehension why the president of the United States wants to take kids off the Children's Health Insurance Program rather than adding more kids to the program," Sanders said. "I'm going to do everything that I can to oppose Mr. Bush's initiative and move us closer to the day when all of our children have health 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 to extend and expand the program. Bush has threatened a veto.
To read the Sanders Amendment, click here.