Expanding health care for children

    Lawmakers in the House approved a bill Wednesday that would expand the popular initiative for children from lower-income families.

    New action in Congress Wednesday lays the groundwork for President-elect Barack Obama to keep his promise to expand health insurance for children.

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    The House approved a bill that would add four million children to the federal program dubbed S-CHIP. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program provides federal dollars to help cover children living at or near the poverty line.

    Joshua Cohen is health strategist for Public Citizens for Children and Youth in Philadelphia.

    Cohen: This is meaningful especially in this time of economic crisis that we are facing. Because a lot of families need that assurance that their families are going to be covered with health insurance.

    Cohen says the House vote also gives state officials confidence that money will continue to flow.

    Cecilia Zalkind heads the The Association for Children of New Jersey.

    Zalkind: I think it’s safe to say that we are going to see an increase in the number of children without health insurance, so in many ways this is very timely.

    The S-CHIP bill needs approval from the Senate before it lands on Barack Obama’s desk. The House version of the bill pushes states to make the application process easier for families.

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