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Health Coverage at Stake for Youngest and Oldest Ohioans


Tuesday, September 11, 2007   

Columbus, OH – Big decisions are expected on health coverage for Ohio's children and for those receiving Medicare coverage. Luke Russell with AARP in Ohio says one proposal, already passed by the U.S. House, would reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), a federal program that helps ensure low-income children and Medicare recipients have access to doctors.

"This bill improves access to prescription drugs for low-income people on Medicare and it protects them from significantly higher premiums."

Amy Swanson, with the groupVoices for Ohio's Children, says Ohio lawmakers hope Congress passes the S-CHIP expansion, because the state's plan to extend coverage to more children depends on expanded federal funding.

"With health coverage, Ohio's kids have a chance to grow up healthy, succeed in school, and become productive citizens. S-CHIP has proved to be a successful, efficient way to insure more kids."

The bill to reauthorize S-CHIP is known as the Children's Health And Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act. Proponents say it will help greater numbers of low-income children and Medicare recipients gain access to preventive care. In turn, they say it can lower the nation's overall medical costs by focusong on preventive care, treating conditions before they require expensive procedures or hospitalization.

The current S-CHIP funding expires at the end of this month; the CHAMP alternative would expand health coverage to as many as five million uninsured children nationwide. The White House has threatened a veto, claiming it would throw the government programs into competition with private health insurance providers.

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