Federal Lawmakers Address Children’s Health Initiatives
The Hill on Tuesday published a special section on children's initiatives that included opinion pieces from a number of lawmakers. Summaries appear below.
- Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.): The outcome of the debate over legislation to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program "will measure our commitment to the health of low-income, uninsured kids across our country," and "families in need are counting on us to pass this test with flying colors," Baucus writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. He writes, "It's time to work together again, and put America's kids first," adding, "It's time for Congress to make the grade with a robust renewal" of SCHIP (Baucus, The Hill, 7/24).
- Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho): "Congress is moving in the right direction on the issue of preventing child predation," Crapo writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. Crapo adds that he hopes "Congress, law enforcement, states, organizations, schools and parents can continue and grow in strong partnerships to protect our children." In addition, laws that target violent sex offenders "with critical federal, state and tribal law enforcement information sharing, increasingly stringent registration requirements for level-three sex offenders, and electronic monitoring will reduce the likelihood that these crimes are committed," he writes (Crapo, The Hill, 7/24).
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.): Policies that are "family-friendly ... make the best children's policy," DeLauro writes in an opinion piece in The Hill, adding, "By addressing an entire family's needs -- by giving them the tools to succeed and the resources to give their children a better future -- we can ensure our kids get the right start today and a real shot at the American dream." She writes that she supports policies to help ensure paid sick days, pay equity for women and reauthorization of SCHIP, adding, "We can support our families and confront our nation's great challenges by supporting the best public policy -- supporting effective policies well in place while also blazing a new path to allow every child the chance to thrive" (DeLauro, The Hill, 7/24).
- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa): Increased childhood obesity rates have led to a "very real prospect that today's kids could be the first generation in American history to have a shorter lifespan than their parent's generation," Harkin writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. He writes that lawmakers should seek to pass legislation to replace junk food in schools with healthier options, ensure that schoolchildren receive daily physical exercise and limit advertisements for junk food that target children. All parts of "society -- parents, schools, the federal government and concerned citizens operating at all levels of government -- should work together to provide our children with the best possible start in life," Harkin writes, adding, "There is no better way to ensure that America has a prosperous future than to make sure that the next generation gets a healthy start in life" (Harkin, The Hill, 7/24).
- Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.): "By any measure, mental health problems have a devastating impact on America's children," Kennedy writes in an opinion piece in The Hill, adding, "It is time for Congress to give this crisis the attention it warrants." Kennedy cites the need to increase the availability of mental health care professionals for children and to identify and address early symptoms of mental health problems in children. He concludes, "We are currently failing children and their families twice: ignoring science that can help keep children healthy and then rationing treatment when they get sick. The challenges are great, but the opportunities for improvement are abundant. We just need the foresight and political will to pursue them" (Kennedy, The Hill, 7/24).
- Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.): "When we allow children to live and grow up in poverty, we set them -- and America -- up for failure," McDermott writes in an opinion piece in The Hill. Legislation to reauthorize and expand SCHIP and "bolster the food stamp program ... are steps in the right direction," but "even taken together, we're still falling short," McDermott writes. He adds that Congress also should seek to pass legislation to expand the federal unemployment insurance program to cover more low-income families and place a "greater emphasis on reducing poverty" in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. He concludes, "These kids deserve the chance to live up to their potential, but that will only happen if we live up to our responsibility to eradicate child poverty in America" (McDermott, The Hill, 7/24).
- Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.): "On the surface," the debate over legislation to reauthorize SCHIP "is an opportunity to reauthorize a program that has successfully provided health insurance for millions of children from low-income families," Price writes in an opinion piece in The Hill, adding, "However, if one digs deeper, one will see that this is truly the opening volley in a renewed debate: Washington-controlled bureaucratic medicine versus patient-centered health care." He adds, "Patients and physicians should be making health care decisions, not Congress. Let us not embrace a 'solution' and leadership that increases government regulation and a Washington-controlled bureaucratic health care system" (Price, The Hill, 7/24).