Thompson Supports Reauthorization of Childrens Health Insurance Program

January 14, 2009
Press Release

Disappointed that debate and input were prevented by the Democratic Leadership

Washington, DC – Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, who has spent the past 26 years as a patient advocate in Central Pennsylvania, voted today in support of reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Originally authorized by Congress in 1997, SCHIP was designed to cover needy children that do not qualify for Medicaid and whose parents cannot afford to purchase insurance on the open market.

“Like most legislation passed out of the House, this SCHIP bill is not perfect – far from perfect,” said Congressman Thompson. “While I would have written a much different bill if provided the opportunity, this program is worthy of reauthorization and will ultimately increase the number of insured children in the Fifth District.”

Currently, over 12,000 children in the 17 counties that comprise Pennsylvania’s sprawling Fifth District are enrolled in the SCHIP. By reauthorizing this legislation SCHIP enrollment will increase from 7 million children nationwide to 11 million children over a 5 year period.

“In this time of economic unrest, there are undoubtedly families across the Fifth District that cannot afford health insurance for their children and unfortunately fall through the cracks – this legislation will hopefully provide these families with a safety net.”
Thompson continued, “While I did not have an opportunity to weigh in on this measure prior to passage, I am committed to working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as they write regulations and look forward to proposing common sense solutions to ensure that these funds are used for the children SCHIP is intended for and that waste and abuse are minimized.”

Crafted after Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), SCHIP is funded by both the Federal and state governments, with States administering the program. While the Federal government sets broad guidelines, each state has the authority to design a program that best suits its needs while also determining benefit packages and eligibility requirements.

“Having spent nearly three decades advocating on behalf of my patients, I know full well the benefits of this program. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure that this program remains effective in Pennsylvania and assist in disseminating our best practices to other states, so that this program remains viable nationwide.”