the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection “CHAMP” Act

i want to thank my extraordinary -- extraordinarily generous friend from michigan who i not only have great respect, but great affection as well. TimeCode: 18:19:10.7 i want to thank him for his more than half a century of leadership on issues of health care in america. on extending health care and insurance to every american. to ensuring that in this great country of ours that every american has the opportunity to TimeCode: 18:19:27.4 receive the extraordinary quality health care that we have available in this great country. i also want to thank my good friend, the chairman of the ways and means committee, who has for so many years fought the good fifmente and as he said on -- TimeCode: 18:19:46.6 fight. and as he said on the floor, it is an opportunity to extend to children the benefits of health care. i want to mention the president's intent as well. i want to thank my friend from california, pete stark, who has been chair of the subcommittee and so faithful. TimeCode: 18:20:03.0 want to thank mr. mccrery and the ranking member of the subcommittee. i understand that we may have a different view, but we are working together now as the american people expect us to do. i said on this floor last night that we would have a robust TimeCode: 18:20:19.1 debate on this, the children's health care act. while we may disagree on elements of the bill, i believe virtually all of us agree that it is unacceptable and, indeed, immoral that millions of TimeCode: 18:20:35.6 children in the wealthiest nation on the face of the earth do not have health insurance. that is unlike every industrialized nation in the world other than ourselves. this historic legislation TimeCode: 18:20:50.9 addresses this national challenge. building upon the successes of the state children's health insurance program, which received strong bipartisan support in the republican-led congress in 1997, and which was signed into law by a democratic TimeCode: 18:21:08.9 president, president clinton. under this bill 11 million american children, six million who currently are covered under schip and an additional five million children who currently TimeCode: 18:21:23.5 lack health insurance will have access to quality affordable health insurance. seems to me that's why so many of us serve in this body to ensure that our people have that access. TimeCode: 18:21:39.2 let us be clear. contrary to the claims of some, including, sadly, at this point in time, president bush, this legislation does not expand the schip program. let me repeat that. TimeCode: 18:21:56.1 this legislation does not expand the schip program. instead this legislation provides the resources needed to enroll children who are eligible under existing law, but who are TimeCode: 18:22:14.9 currently not enrolled. let me reiterate, the champ act maintains current law regarding eligibility for schip. furthermore, this legislation TimeCode: 18:22:29.1 ensures seniors access to the doctors of their choice by stopping a scheduled 10% payment cut to doctors. it phases out over payments to private plans. TimeCode: 18:22:42.8 my friends on the other side, of course, want to make sure that the government is very careful in its expenditure of funds. and it urges us to adopt the practices of the private sector, which are driven by competition TimeCode: 18:22:59.7 on price. however, in this case we have mandated by law that the competitors receive 100% reimbursement while the competitors that are favored receive 111% to 130% plus. TimeCode: 18:23:18.1 s that a little bit like the prescription drug bill where we can't negotiate for price. this bill maintains compensation and access. TimeCode: 18:23:29.4 and in so doing the bill would extend medicare's solvency by three years. while protecting seniors and people with disabilities from having to pay higher monthly TimeCode: 18:23:41.1 premiums. in addition, this improves medicare, by among other things, providing new benefits. i must note, mr. speaker, nearly three years ago in the middle of a presidential campaign president bush said the TimeCode: 18:23:56.5 following, and i quote, and this, by the way, was at the 2004 republican national convention when president bush was seeking the votes of americans throughout this country to be re-elected president. this is what he said. america's children must have a TimeCode: 18:24:12.6 healthy start in life. to which clearly all of us, as we watched the television set, amen. in a new term he went on to say, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible TimeCode: 18:24:30.6 but not signed up for government health insurance programs. mr. president, that's what we are doing this afternoon. but now, unfortunately, a mere 36 months later the president is TimeCode: 18:24:47.8 threatening to veto legislation that does precisely what he said he wanted to do in 2004 as he was running for president and seeking the votes in that convention. mr. speaker, contrary to the TimeCode: 18:25:02.1 claims of the president and other opponents of this bill, it does not constitute a government takeover of health care. that is a strawman, that is not accurate. TimeCode: 18:25:17.7 in fact, 3 sl 4 of the children in the schip program -- 3 sl 4 -- nor is the bill fiscally irresponsible. a curious claim i would say, coming from the president and TimeCode: 18:25:34.7 congressional republicans whose policies added more than $3 trillion to the debt. i got a letter a few days ago, maybe you got it as well, mr. mccrery, from secretary paulsen, he said that we're running up TimeCode: 18:25:53.4 against the debt limit. does anybody know in the four years preceding the bush policies, how many times we raised the debt? not once. but we've raise it had five times in the last six years if TimeCode: 18:26:08.9 we raise it again. so when we talk about fiscal responsibility, it is fiscally responsible to invest in the health care of our children because they will be healthier citizens, more productive citizens, and we will have a TimeCode: 18:26:24.9 better, more economically viable country. the democratic majority has taken pains to pay for this legislation and abide by pay as you go budget rules which provided for four years of surplus immediately preceding TimeCode: 18:26:40.2 this administration. in the final analysis, the question before the members of this body really is this, do you support re-authorizing this critical program and providing health insurance to eligible children -- eligible children -- TimeCode: 18:26:56.0 eligible children or not? i urge my colleagues, vote to provide health care for our children. vote to improve and protect medicare. vote for the champ act. TimeCode: 18:27:09.9 and i yield back the balance of my time.