Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E)
Executive Director, American Public Health Association
Washington, D.C., Oct. 18, 2007 – “The American Public Health Association (APHA) is dismayed by today’s failure of the House of Representatives to uphold the intent of the overwhelming majority of the House and override the president’s veto of the bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“Supported by a majority of the members of Congress and the product of intense negotiations by all parties involved, the bipartisan CHIP legislation would provide 10 million low-income children from working class families with access to health insurance coverage. The bill would also provide improved benefits to enrolled children, including quality dental coverage, parity in mental health coverage and medically necessary benefits for low-income children.
“Through their refusal to vote to override the president’s veto of this critical public health legislation, members of the House who voted with the president squandered an opportunity to demonstrate to their constituents and the American public that they truly care about the health of our nation’s children. Instead, they chose to ignore the will of a majority of Americans.
“And although today’s vote will likely be framed as a political victory for one party and a loss for another, the real losers in this debate are America’s uninsured children.
“APHA, supported by its thousands of members and professional allies, will continue to work to ensure that all of our nation’s children have access to quality health care. We thank the members of Congress who worked tirelessly on this legislation and voted to override the veto, and we urge them to continue to fight on behalf of America’s children.”