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Senator Vitale Statement On Failure To Override SCHIP Veto

Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, speaks at a news conference on the Statehouse steps on his efforts to ban limit charitable immunity in cases when the charity acted negligently in protecting children from abuse

WOODBRIDGE – State Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the author of legislation creating NJ FamilyCare, a health care access program for the uninsured, today blasted the 156 federal lawmakers who voted against an override of President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides matching funds to State programs for uninsured kids:

“Today is a sad day for advocates seeking to provide access to quality health care for uninsured kids. Efforts to override President Bush’s ill-thought veto on SCHIP have failed to gain the necessary 2/3 vote in the House, and a bipartisan plan to increase funding to the necessary health care program for those in need appears to be dead.

“I want to thank those New Jersey Congressmen who stood on the side of good health care policy, particularly Congressman Frank Pallone, the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, who has worked tirelessly to restore funding for SCHIP, and ensure much-needed growth in the program.

“Without SCHIP dollars, New Jersey is put between a rock and a hard place. We must either cut health care access programs for the working poor, and force many to ignore primary care and increase the financial burden on emergency rooms, or we must somehow find the funds in our already-cash-strapped budget for FamilyCare. While I’m sure State leaders will do as much as we can to provide access to the uninsured, I’m not sure how much we can do with our limited resources.

“The Bush Administration, and Republican congressmen who march in lock step with the President, have turned their backs on the working poor and middle class children whose parents don’t have, and can’t afford, health insurance. Compassionate conservatism has given way to class warfare, with health care a privilege apparently reserved for the fortunate or the wealthy.

“While New Jersey will continue to do all it can to help the uninsured, the future of health care in this country for those in need seems to be another casualty of the Bush regime.”