Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009

Jan 14, 2009
Floor Speech


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   Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Speaker, you can't have it both ways. You can't be for it and then you are going to vote against it.

   I am listening to the many people on the other side. Substance is more important than process. You don't get it. You don't understand it.

   So I am in strong support as a proud cosponsor of the Children's Health Insurance Program which does reauthorize and is fiscally responsible, reasonable. This is long overdue.

   Ensuring health coverage for our Nation's children is a critical first step in any health reform effort. In fact, it's the least we can do. If we can't have universal care automatically right now, then we need to at least take care of the children of our country. You say you agree with it, then you ought to vote for it.

   Taking swift and decisive action on this legislation has become critically important. As unemployment climbs, the ranks of the uninsured swell, and the roles of our safety-net programs grow. I am particularly proud that this bill provides flexibility in determining eligibility criteria that makes sense for individual States.

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   Higher income eligibilities, for example, are common sense in States like New Jersey where a dollar simply doesn't go as far.

   In New Jersey, we have set out on an ambitious endeavor to cover every child by July of this year, including the 267,000 currently uninsured children in our State.

   It is estimated that as many as 130,000 of these children are eligible for FamilyCare, New Jersey's CHIP plan, but are not currently enrolled.

   Passing the important legislation that is before us will help States like mine to take the steps necessary to ensure that every child has access to affordable, quality health care.

   The stakes are bigger now than ever, so it is time to cast aside political games and pass this bill.

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