Tri-Caucus Letter to Congressional Leadership 1

Resource: Letter to Congressional Leadership on SCHIP
by Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (July 2008)

Available at: 2008-07-22-final-tricaucus-schip-letter-leadership.pdf

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515

July 22, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Steny Hoyer
House Majority Leader
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable James Clyburn
House Majority Whip
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rahm Emanuel
House Democratic Caucus Chairman
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John Larson
House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman
1005 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Whip Clyburn, Chairman Emanuel, and Vice Chair Larson:

We understand that the House may consider a children’s health insurance bill prior to the end of the 110th Congress. As Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), jointly known as the TriCaucus, we urge you to include provisions in this bill which address the needs of children in communities of color and respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss this critical issue.

Programs such as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) play important roles in reducing racial and ethnic disparities and providing coverage for many children and pregnant women of color. However, many legal permanent resident children and pregnant women are unjustly barred from Medicaid and SCHIP for five years. These low-income individuals are forced to remain uninsured and seek care from costly emergency rooms. This is not only unjust, but very costly for States and for the country as a whole.

We urge you to include the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) in any legislation addressing children’s access to health care. You may remember that ICHIA was included in the House-passed CHAMP Act (H.R. 3162) and has bipartisan support. ICHIA would allow states the option to provide Medicaid and SCHIP coverage to eligible, legally present, children and pregnant women. More than 20 states use their own funding, even in difficult economic times, to provide health care to some legally present immigrants who are ineligible for Medicaid or SCHIP due to the five year bar because it is sound fiscal and public health policy.

We also hope that you will use any pending legislation as an opportunity to correct the flawed Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) Medicaid citizenship requirements. Contrary to popular belief, the DRA requirements disproportionately affect white and African American U.S. citizen children. As a result of these burdensome requirements, 11,000 children in Virginia and 14,000 children in Kansas have lost health coverage. The policy has also resulted in increased administrative expenses for states.
We support the goals of increasing health care for our nation’s children and believe such legislation is an important opportunity to address the health disparities faced by children in communities of color. To accomplish that goal, we urge the inclusion of ICHIA and appropriate fixes to the flawed Citizenship Documentation language included in the DRA.

We look forward to meeting with you to discuss this request and develop a strategy to move forward on this important matter.


Hilda L. Solis
Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Health and the Environment

Joe Baca
Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force

Mike Honda
Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Donna M. Christensen
Chair, Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Chair, Congressional Black Caucus

CC: Chairmen Dingell, Rangel, Pallone, and Stark

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