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Health Advocates Fear S-CHIP Veto Will Stand: What Next for CO Children?

October 8, 2007

Denver, CO – Colorado children's health advocates say protests and persuasion aren't likely to win over the two-dozen U.S. Congressional representatives whose votes are necessary to override President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). At the Colorado Children's Campaign, Tara Trujillo says the focus now has shifted to planning for the possibility the program will be funded at the level the President wants, meaning some harsh reductions would start next year.

"We would first start by cutting programs for the pregnant women because they are an optional group. The CHIP kids would then be the next to go. So, we'd be looking at some major cuts to the program."

However, even without an override, Trujillo thinks no one will lose their current health insurance coverage.

"Losing coverage is not likely to happen with folks as fired up over S-CHIP as we are and, if there's a compromise, it's going to be more than what the President is indicating now."

The three Colorado representatives who voted against the children's health insurance bill could be key in sustaining or overturning the President's veto. Trujillo says the pressure is on, because S-CHIP affects health care costs for everyone.

"The kids and families who would then be kicked off the program would have to access emergency rooms, and we all know that raises the level of cost for everybody in Colorado."

The bill passed Congress with significant bipartisan backing, and the Senate has enough votes to override the President's veto, but about two-dozen more votes would be needed in the House.

John Robinson, Public News Service - CO