Gov. Haley Barbour at an afternoon news conference today spoke out against Congress’ plan to expand the State Children’s Insurance Program, saying that it’s unfair to poorer states like Mississippi.
“I urge our senators to vote against it unless its discrimination against the needy children of our state is corrected,” Barbour said.
Democratic Reps. Travis Childers of the 1st District, Bennie Thompson of the 2nd District and Gene Taylor of the 4th District voted for the reauthorization of the program. Third District Rep. Gregg Harper voted against it.
Childers, D-Booneville, held a news conference this morning at North Mississippi Pediatrics in Tupelo to discuss the issue.
“During these tough economic times, more and more hard working Americans are losing their jobs, and parents are struggling to provide heath care coverage for their children,” Childers said in a news release. “Too many of Mississippi’s children lack health insurance. Without the reauthorization of SCHIP, Mississippi would face significant funding shortfalls and would be forced to drop children from coverage.”
“Covering our children now means hard working taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for more costly problems in the future,” he said.
But Barbour said no child in Mississippi has been turned away by the program before, despite inadequate funding from the federal government.
“If it were about health care for poor children, the bill would not shortchange the poor children of Mississippi by tens of millions of dollars,” Barbour said.
Barbour worries that the expansion of the program will create a system that gives funding to wealthier families in other states before the needs of poorer Mississippi families are met, he said.
“It is critical Mississippi’s poor children be provided for before children in New York and New Jersey, whose families make $65,000 or, in some cases, even $88,000 a year,” he said.
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