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Gov. Gregoire saddened by veto of children’s health care

For Immediate Release: December 14, 2007

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today again stood up for children, reaffirming her opinion that President Bush is standing in the way of children’s health care by vetoing a bill that would have extended and expanded funding for low-income children.

“I find it unbelievable that the President continues to say ‘no’ to children,” said Gov. Gregoire. “I am truly saddened for our children and their families. In Washington, we know that taking care of our kids not only makes good economic sense, but it is the right thing to do. The federal government should continue to be a partner, rather than a roadblock, to our children’s health.”

Gov. Gregoire announced in October that the state of Washington, along with several other states, was filing a lawsuit against the federal government to ensure that Washington children continue to have affordable access to health care. The suit is in response to a letter from the Bush administration, which arbitrarily imposed new eligibility rules that prevent states from expanding the SCHIP, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, programs that provide health care for children.

President Bush on Wednesday vetoed for the second time legislation expanding the program. The bill would have expand health-care coverage from 6.6 million children to more than 10 million children of the working poor, and would be funded by an increase in cigarette taxes.

Congress created SCHIP in 1997 as a bipartisan measure to provide health care for children, with funding split between states and the federal government. By providing preventative care and avoiding more expensive emergency room visits, SCHIP has been successful in keeping kids healthy and saving money for the state.

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