Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this evening supporting H.R. 3162, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 (CHAMP Act). This bill reauthorizes the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which expires on September 30, and includes several provisions to protect and improve Medicare. The legislation passed by a vote of 225 to 204.
Below are the Speaker's remarks:
'Mr. Speaker, as I rise here to speak today, sometime after 6:30 p.m., I'm reminded of a poem that most of us memorized when we were young, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: 'Between the dark and the daylight, when the light is beginning to lower, comes a pause in the day's occupation that is known as the children's hour.'
'That's this time of day; this is the children's hour. Because of the leadership of so many of our colleagues, we are able to meet our moral obligation to our children. It isn't a pause in our occupation, it is our mission. This moral obligation that we have to the future.
'When I was sworn in as Speaker, I was surrounded by children. It was exhilarating, and I called the House of Representatives to order on behalf of all of
'Our legislation is called CHAMP because it does just that. It champions quality health care for
'With the passage of this legislation, the New Direction Congress will ensure that 11 million of
'This legislation will help millions of American children and seniors live better lives. SCHIP, created a decade ago by a Republican Congress and a Democratic President, has dramatically reduced the number of poor, uninsured children in
'Those children will receive dental care, and thanks to Congressman Patrick Kennedy, mental health services. Dental care, which we take for granted for our own children. But after this legislation passed, no more will we have a Deamonte Driver, that 12-year-old boy from
'And let us be clear: most SCHIP beneficiaries receive their coverage through private managed care plans, not through the government. And let us be clear: the Chairman just pointed out, this legislation is paid for. No new deficit spending, no keeping mountains of debt on these children to pay for the health care they so rightly deserve.
'In addition to providing coverage to children, the CHAMP Act also strengthens and improves Medicare for every senior by eliminating co-insurance requirements and deductibles for preventive care. Imagine that, for preventive care, how important that is.
'The legislation produces co-payments and provides for mental health parity. And many more seniors will no longer face the donut hole in the prescription drug benefit.
'We do all of this and more for seniors, and I repeat, with pay-as-you-go budget rules and extend the life of Medicare trust funds by three years.
'By passing the CHAMP Act, the New Direction Congress is keeping our promise to seniors on Medicare and meeting our obligation to our future - our children. Again, it is paid for. I can't say that enough.