CHERRY HILL – Senator John H. Adler made the following statement today as he once again called upon New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to all vote in favor of overriding the President’s veto of the SCHIP Reauthorization Act:
“If President Bush and Congressional Republicans have their way, working class families will be unable to get their children into pediatricians offices like the one I stand in front of today.
“SCHIP is a critical program for over 100,000 New Jersey children who would otherwise have no health insurance and no guarantee that they could see a doctor whenever they needed.
“The SCHIP veto has put all of their coverage at risk, but it especially threatens the health and well-being of over 10,000 New Jersey children living in families whom the President thinks make too much money.
“In Crawford, $52,000 may be a lot of money. But here in New Jersey, that’s just barely enough for a family to get by. If health insurance isn’t provided at work, more often than not, these families don’t have enough at the end of the month to pay for private insurance.
“If this veto override fails, these kids – including at least 307 right here in the 6th District – will lose access to their pediatricians for regular check-ups, needed vaccinations or visits when they get sick.
“Instead they will be forced to wait until they get really sick and depend on hospital emergency rooms and the State’s charity care system to get treatment – treatment that would often have been unnecessary if they were just able to visit a doctor earlier.
“As the Governor can attest, charity care is expensive and costs far more than if we simply provided these children with regular access to doctors and encouraged families to seek preventative care.
“For far too long, the federal government has dropped the ball on children’s health care. States like New Jersey have tried to lead the way in expanding coverage because it makes sense, not only morally, but financially.
“In short, the veto of SCHIP was not only morally wrong, but also fiscally irresponsible.
“Congress found a sustainable funding source for the program through the tobacco tax and in the end, the states will save far more money than SCHIP will ever cost.
“Congress needs to show real leadership tomorrow, override the veto, and tell the President that middle class families deserve health care for their children.”