Saperstein: "We have the chance to provide 11 million children with affordable, effective and much-needed health care."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 14, 2009 - In response to the Houses passage of legislation reauthorizing the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today's bipartisan House passage of the bill reauthorizing the State Childrens Health Insurance Program revitalizes hope that this essential program will be extended and expanded to cover nearly 11 million children. After President Bushs disappointing vetoes of similar bills last year, we are pleased to see this vigorous effort to enact the legislation so early in the new Congress and before the program is set to expire in March. Families who rely on SCHIP for their childrens health care deserve the security of knowing that the program will continue.
Jewish tradition teaches, "Whoever is in pain, lead him to the physician" (Baba Kamma 46B). With SCHIPs reauthorization, we have the chance to provide 11 million children with affordable, effective and much-needed health care. We are also pleased by the inclusion of a provision allowing children of legal immigrants who have been in the country fewer than five years to enroll in the program. As millions of children and their families remain in limbo, waiting to learn the future direction of this important program, we hope that the Senate and the President will follow the lead of the House and make SCHIP reauthorization a priority.