January 26, 2009
Washington, DC—Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the
U.S. Senate regarding the Children’s
Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009,
which improves the lives of uninsured children by ensuring
they get the doctor visits and medicines they need when they’re sick and the
checkups they need to stay well. The Senate will consider the bill this week.
Below are his remarks as prepared for
“In the last Congress, the United
States Senate passed an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program
with an overwhelming majority. In a Congress too often marred by partisan
divide, this strong vote in favor of healthy children briefly stood as a bright
example of the good that comes from government putting people ahead of
“Regrettably, former President Bush chose to veto our
bipartisan children’s health legislation, and just a few too many loyal House
Republicans in a narrowly divided Congress stuck with him to uphold his
“In the year and a half since the veto, millions of children have
been shut out of regular checkups, medicine and hospital trips. In Nevada, low-income
families have been forced to put their children on waiting lists for future
health coverage. From coast to coast, more than four million children who would
have been covered if our legislation had passed are not getting regular checkups
or the care they need when they get sick.
“Jeopardizing the health of
American children is not a political victory for anyone, it’s a loss for
everyone – and it’s long past time that we corrected it.
“This week we
have the chance to keep our promise to America’s children by passing a new
Children’s Health Insurance Program. With the support of Democrats and
Republicans in Congress and a new president in the White House poised to sign
this bill into law, we can ensure that more lower-income families can provide
their children with the medical care they need to grow up strong and healthy.
“Our legislation gives states the resources and ability to insure an
additional four million children. Our legislation covers the lowest-income
children first by giving states new tools to enroll uninsured children who
qualify for Medicaid and rewarding states for successful enrollments in the
Children’s Health Insurance Program. And our legislation doesn’t just provide
more children with health care, but also improves the quality of the care they
“In Nevada and across
America, the number of uninsured
children is rising. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that for every
one-point rise in our national unemployment rate, 700,000 more children join the
ranks of the uninsured. In Nevada and across
America, the number of uninsured
children is rising every day. The number of children who aren’t getting
checkups, medicine and emergency care is rising every day.
the United States Senate will engage in an open, fair and lively debate on this
critical legislation. There will surely be points where Democrats and
Republicans disagree on specifics. Democrats would have written this
legislation to cover more children, but we compromised to create a bill that
Republicans would support. Republicans may raise points of concern during the
debate, and Democrats will consider their differing views.
this debate, we should remember that the overwhelming majority of Democrats and
Republicans agree on the fundamentals of this legislation.
forward to a productive debate. And I look forward to President Obama signing
into law an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program that will allow
more children of Nevada and all fifty states to get the care
they need and deserve.”