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Voters: Expand State Children's Health Insurance Program

Armen Hareyan's picture

State Children's Health Insurance Program

A new poll released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides states with federal funds to design health insurance programs for vulnerable children.

Nearly nine in 10 voters (86%) say they support reauthorizing SCHIP, with a clear majority (63%) saying they support expanding SCHIP's budget by an additional $35 billion over five years.

Earlier this month, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate approved separate SCHIP bills that would expand the program to cover more SCHIP-eligible children. President Bush has threatened to veto legislation that expands the program. SCHIP provides health insurance coverage for more than 6 million children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet not enough to afford private health insurance. Despite the success of the program, Census figures show there are nearly 9 million uninsured children in America, with most living with parents who work, but earn modest incomes.

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The poll released today -- conducted by noted Republican pollster Bill McInturff -- shows strong endorsement for increasing SCHIP's funding.

"This poll shows that voters of all political stripes recognize the value of SCHIP for keeping America's kids healthy," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The message is clear: Americans want SCHIP renewed and strengthened. Most uninsured children are already eligible for SCHIP, but they do not participate because of insufficient funding or enrollment barriers. Congress and the White House now have the opportunity to give millions of vulnerable children the health coverage they need in order to thrive and succeed. Without more support for SCHIP, millions of kids will remain uninsured."

Poll results show:

Voters support SCHIP.