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American Children Lose Out – Congress Fails on Its Second Attempt to Override President Bush’s Veto on Health Insurance for Children

By January 24, 2008 No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2008

Contact:
Caroline Lee, Korean Resource Center, 213-814-8772
Ju Yeon Ryu, Korean Resource Center, 714-728-0698

JOINT STATEMENT FROM NAKASEC AND AFFILIATES

American Children Lose Out
Congress Fails on Its Second Attempt to Override President Bush’s Veto on Health Insurance for Children

(Los Angeles, CA) The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium and its affiliates are deeply disappointed and angered by the House of Representatives’ inability to rally enough votes to override President Bush’s veto over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Rather than enacting firm and clear policies that nurtures and invests in America’s future, House members are caving into political interests which has resulted in the denial of critical healthcare coverage to all of America’s children.

This is the second time in three months that the House has failed to override a Presidential veto that would have provided substantial funding to this program. The vetoed legislation would have covered four million additional children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance. In its place, a time-strapped Congress took the easy way out by passing a temporary measure on December 29, 2007 that merely sustains the program at the current levels of enrollment and limits eligibility to families earning up to 250% above the federal poverty level.

“Two weeks ago, I went to the emergency room because my son had a high fever. I was so grateful I had Healthy Families. As a parent, I cannot imagine what I would have done without it because there is no way that I could have afforded the medical treatment. Because sufficient funding has not been authorized, I am really worried about what will happen when the program ends. This is why the Korean American community must take a visible stand to support healthcare for all children,” stated Ju Yeon Ryu, parent and health advocate.

“The temporary measure that was passed last year was a short term political response to the real threat of millions of children losing enrollment. This new measures means members of our community are being left out. As living costs rise and health costs skyrocket, more and more families find themselves unable to care for their children. The health and well-being of the youngest and most vulnerable Americans are being compromised,” stated Caroline Lee, Health Access Program Director at the Korean Resource Center.

As legislators continue to debate about children’s healthcare in the halls of Washington, D.C. without real results, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Korean Resource Center, and our two affiliates in Chicago and Flushing will continue to educate and organize our Korean American communities to advocate for making healthcare accessible and affordable for all children. Maintaining the status quo will result in an unacceptable reality of America’s children being denied basic health care.