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American Academy of Pediatrics Applauds President Obama and Congress for Swift Action on CHIP

Washington, DC (February 4, 2009) - The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which represents 60,000 pediatricians, praises President Barack Obama and Congress for reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the bill earlier this afternoon in a 290-135 vote, President Obama wasted no time in signing into law the critical legislation.

"Today's reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program is a victory for the children of this country. With the stroke of President Obama's pen, states now have the funds to provide insurance coverage to more than 11 million children nationwide. During uncertain economic times, the White House and Congress have come together to wisely prioritize children's health," says David T. Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics.

The reauthorization of CHIP means that more than $30 billion in federal funding will be available to provide health care for those currently enrolled in the program, and to enroll millions more children, the vast majority of whom are currently eligible for CHIP or Medicaid but unenrolled. The legislation also includes the Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act (ICHIA), which will lift the five-year ban on eligibility for legally residing children and pregnant women in force since 1996.

"Leaders of both parties put partisanship aside and put children first today," said Jay E. Berkelhamer, MD,FAAP, chair of the AAP's Access Subcommittee, who attended today's White House signing ceremony. "Yet to be clear, CHIP reauthorization is not health reform for children-it is a bridge to what should rightly comethereafter, broader health reform to ensure that all children have access to affordable, high quality health coverage. The American Academy of Pediatrics looks forward to working with President Obama and leaders of both the House and Senate in the coming months on broader health care reform."

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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