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AARP and AMA to President Bush, Don't Veto Kids Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560, media@aarp.org

WASHINGTON – AARP, representing more than 39 million Americans 50-plus, and the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest physician group, together strongly urged President Bush today to sign CHIP, a bipartisan bill that would ensure that nearly 10 million children get the health care they need. The President has made public statements announcing his intent to veto this legislation.

AARP and AMA are not alone. Groups including the nation’s governors, private insurers – and a vast majority of Americans – overwhelmingly support strengthening the successful kids health insurance program. Further, the bill passed both the House and the Senate by wide, bipartisan majorities – one of the few pieces of legislation to do so in Washington’s partisan atmosphere.

The AARP and AMA urged the President not to be taken in by the rhetoric of the few members of Congress who opposed the bill. In their letter they state, “And, contrary to much misinformation, the bill focuses the program on serving low-income kids who are U.S. citizens. The legislation does not increase income eligibility limits, nor does it provide for coverage of illegal immigrants.

“This is not a debate about government versus private insurance – both will be part of any real solution to our nation’s growing health care crisis. It is about ensuring that we do right by our children so that they can grow into healthy, productive adults.”

The full text of the letter follows:

September 27, 2007

Dear Mr. President

On behalf of the American Medical Association and AARP, we strongly urge you to sign the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act that will soon be on your desk.

This legislation will strengthen the successful CHIP program and ensure that nearly 10 million children get the health care they need. We should ensure that as many children as possible have access to proper health care. Our nation has a duty to give all children the best possible start in life.

CHIP is a public-private partnership in which 70% of kids get coverage through private insurers. It has the overwhelming support of the nation’s governors, as well as America’s Health Insurance Plans who represent private insurers. In fact, the carefully crafted bipartisan compromise bill can even strengthen private sector insurance because it allows states to use CHIP funds to help families purchase qualified employer-based coverage.

And, contrary to much misinformation, the bill focuses the program on serving low-income kids who are U.S. citizens. The legislation does not increase income eligibility limits, nor does it provide for coverage of illegal immigrants.

This is not a debate about government versus private insurance – both will be part of any real solution to our nation’s growing health care crisis. It is about ensuring that we do right by our children so that they can grow into healthy, productive adults.

We respectfully urge you to sign this important health care legislation.

Sincerely,

William D. Novelli
Chief Executive Officer
AARP

Edward Langston, MD
Board Chairman
AMA

AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. Working together, the AMA's quarter of a million physician and medical student members are playing an active role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information on the AMA, please visit www.ama-assn.org.

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