Douglas goes to Washington to lobby for “s-chip”

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(Host) Governors around the country are concerned about federal funding for a children’s health insurance program that’s due to run out by the end of the month.

Congress and President Bush are still at odds about reauthorization of what’s commonly known as "S-CHIP."

So Vermont Governor Jim Douglas traveled to Washington today/yesterday to lobby House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Douglas says S-CHIP is vitally important to states because it’s the way they provide health care to children whose families have no insurance.

(Douglas) "It’s important for both sides of the aisle and both branches of government to find a way to get the S-CHIP program reauthorized."

(Host) House and Senate negotiators are working on a compromise that would expand S-CHIP to an estimated four million additional children.

Congress is considering a 60-billion dollar program over five years. But that’s twice as much as President Bush has proposed.

Douglas says the governors aren’t getting into the debate about how much should be spent or how money should be raised.

(Douglas) "We’ve been very clear that we need reauthorization, not just a temporary extension, which is what we’ve had in the past, and we need it at a level that continues coverage for all of the kids who are eligible now. That will require some additional support beyond what the president recommended."

(Host) Douglas is chairman of the health care committee of the National Governors Association.

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