For Immediate Release

APHA Applauds House Introduction of KidsFirst Act of 2005 to Ensure Health Care Coverage for Children

Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, Executive Director

Washington, D.C., April 20, 2005 - "The American Public Health Association commends U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) for his introduction of H.R. 1668, the House companion bill to S. 114, the KidsFirst Act, sponsored by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.). This comprehensive measure will expand health care coverage to children who are uninsured and underinsured, offering access to essential health services, including preventive care and medical care for acute and chronic illness.

"Nearly 11 million children are currently uninsured, and thousands of children are no longer enrolled in health coverage provided by the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicaid due to state funding shortfalls. This is unacceptable. Changes must be made to ensure that all children have access to health care. Once enacted into law, this legislation would make the goal of covering all children by Medicaid, SCHIP or private insurance possible.

"I praise Rep. Waxman for introducing this legislation that is focused on protecting the health of our nation's children. We also support the companion bill that has already been introduced by Sen. Kerry in the Senate. We urge members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to cosponsor this vital legislation to ensure that children in America receive the care they need to become healthy adults. Our kids must come first."

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