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Reform Jewish Leader Urges Congressional Override of SCHIP Veto

Saperstein: We hope that the congressional commitment to children’s health care will continue during the upcoming vote to override President Bush’s veto.

Contact: Sean Thibault or Jessica Weiser
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Washington DC: October 8 2007- In response to President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, sent a letter to Congress urging that the bipartisan congressional commitment to children’s health care continue during the upcoming vote to override the veto.  The full text of the letter follows

Dear Member of the 110th Congress:

I write on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, encompassing over 900 congregations across North America, with a membership of 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis, to urge you to vote to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization. 

We are deeply disappointment by President Bush’s decision to go against the will of the American people and the strong bipartisan support for the bill among members of Congress.  His veto of the SCHIP reauthorization bill has put the future of health care coverage for 10 million children in jeopardy and calls into question his commitment to improving health care access for America’s lower income populations.

The strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for the SCHIP reauthorization legislation passed during the week of September 24th displayed Congress’s understanding of the critical role SCHIP plays in allowing lower income families to provide health care for their children. We hope that this congressional commitment will continue during the upcoming vote to override President Bush’s veto.

Since 1997, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program has provided 6.6 million children across America with much-needed health care.  With the expansion of this program in the proposed reauthorization bill, 4 million children, who would otherwise be uninsured, will gain coverage.  Children who are covered by SCHIP will have opportunities to establish relationships with primary care physicians, access dental and mental health care, and obtain much-needed medical attention.  Enacting this bill is a most effective way to improve the lives of America’s children.

The Jewish tradition teaches, “Do not neglect the children of the poor, for from them will go forth the Law” (Nedarim 81).  In this spirit, we ask you to vote to override President Bush’s veto and make an investment in America’s future by ensuring that 10 million of America’s children receive the health care that they deserve.

Sincerely,

Rabbi David Saperstein

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis



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