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Saperstein: "SCHIP is a crucial program, providing access to quality, affordable, life-saving and preventative care."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2009 - Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, this morning sent a letter to all members of the United States Senate encouraging a swift passage of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Text of the letter follows:
I write on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, encompassing over 900 congregations across North America, with a membership of 1.5 million Reform Jews, to urge you to vote for the Childrens Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. It is also imperative that the final legislation include the Immigrant Children Health Improvement Act (ICHIA), eliminating the burdensome five-year waiting period for legal immigrant children and pregnant women to access services.
Created in 1997 and credited with helping reduce the uninsured rate among children by almost a third, the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provides much-needed health coverage to over 7 million children across America. Unfortunately, not all children who qualify for SCHIP receive the benefit: 6 million of the 9 million children who are uninsured in this country qualify for SCHIP but do not receive the benefits. With the expansion of this program in the proposed Senate reauthorization bill, an additional 4 million children will gain coverage.
SCHIP is a crucial program, providing access to quality, affordable, life-saving and preventative care. A 2007 report from health care organization Families USA found that children without insurance were 13 times less likely to have a relationship with a primary care doctor or clinic and were two times less likely to have seen a doctor for a well visit. Children who lack health insurance are twice as likely to die from their injuries after being hospitalized as children who are insured.
Jewish tradition teaches, "By the breath of children, God sustains the world." In this spirit, we ask you to vote for the Childrens Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 and make an investment in Americas future by ensuring that 11 million of Americas children, including legal immigrant children, receive the health care that they deserve. By investing in our children, we are investing in our nations future.
Rabbi David Saperstein