DUMONT – Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, a member of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Committee’s hearing today on Congressional efforts to override President Bush’s veto on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides federal matching funds to State efforts to provide health care coverage for the uninsured:
“Thanks to the President’s veto of legislation to reauthorize the SCHIP program, New Jersey is on the verge of a potential health care crisis, which can only be alleviated through Congressional action.
“This is not an academic issue, but has real-world implications for New Jersey’s uninsured families. A hole in the health care safety net, left by the dissolving of the SCHIP program, will mean that hundreds of thousands of uninsured individuals will be left without funds for adequate care.
“In Bergen County, we have a wide range of income levels, and some of the highest costs of living in the Garden State. For the working poor, health care access is next to impossible. A recent media account showed that, at the minimum wage, a provider would have to work 122 hours a week, just to pay for a market-rate, two-bedroom apartment.
“Congress needs to step up, and provide the votes necessary to override the President’s ill-thought veto on an essential health care safety net program. Without Congressional leadership, New Jersey and the rest of the nation will be unable to continue programs to serve the health care needs of the working poor.”