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Vitale – President’s Conversion On SCHIP Good News For NJ

TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the chief author of legislation expanding FamilyCare in order to guarantee affordable health care for all New Jersey children, issued the following statement after reading reports that President Bush had decided to back off threatened cuts to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides federal matching dollars to programs like NJ FamilyCare:

“Whether the President decided to make an election year conversion regarding SCHIP, or actually got religion in terms of access to quality health care for the working poor, the news that the Bush Administration is backing off intended cuts to the program are great news for New Jersey.

“SCHIP is a vital component in public efforts to extend health coverage to families struggling to make ends meet. The news earlier this year that President Bush planned to drastically cut back the program, leaving States dangling in their efforts to help the uninsured, was devastating.

“Through SCHIP, the federal government made a pact with States to help offset the cost of health care coverage for the uninsured working poor. Thankfully, with today’s announcement, that pact remains intact.

“Whatever the reason for SCHIP’s stay of execution, it’s welcome news to people who care about the plight of their uninsured neighbors. So long as the feds continue their commitment to fund health care for the uninsured through SCHIP, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents who depend on FamilyCare can breathe a little easier.”