Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Georgia Democrats Seek Lifeboat for PeachCare

Below is the full text of a press release from House Democratic Leader, DuBose Porter, regarding the President's decision to refuse to include funding for PeachCare in the Iraq War Appropriation request.

For Immediate Release

Democrats Encourage Congress to Continue Working Towards PeachCare for Kids Solution
Disappointed in President Bush’s Refusal to Allow Funding in Iraq War Appropriations/Additional State Option Proposed

Atlanta – Senate and House Democratic Leaders today reaffirmed their support for the PeachCare for Kids Program and encouraged Congress to continue his efforts to get the necessary $131 million in federal funding required to cover the current shortfall. They also expressed disappointment that President Bush has refused to allow a $745 million bailout for the s-chips program that was requested by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. This money could be used to bridge the gap that is currently affecting children’s healthcare in 14 states.

Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown (D-Macon) said, “We are disappointed in the actions of President Bush but we are committed to working at both the state and federal levels to find a solution to this problem. PeachCare is a vitally important program and we need to ensure that coverage for these kids will continue uninterrupted.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), who participated in bi-partisan meetings on PeachCare for Kids in Washington with Georgia’s congressional delegation, noted, “We met with our entire congressional delegation, both Republican and Democrat, along with top staffers for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and I came away with the sense that everyone understands the urgency of the problem and that a solution must be met. I am thankful and encouraged from the response of our leaders in Washington.”

If Congress can not provide the necessary funding in the time frame needed, House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Nikki Randall (D-Macon) has introduced HB 236, which would allow the state to fully fund the entire shortfall instead of relying on the federal government. She stated, “My measure is only intended as an additional option for the state to use. This is a non-partisan issue that is critically important to our children who depend on PeachCare for Kids to go see their doctor and get treated. We should do whatever it takes to maintain this program.”

“The PeachCare for Kids Program provides critical healthcare for 270,000 of Georgia’s children. If we don’t do anything else this session we should at least do what ever it takes to keep these kids covered,” said House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin). “I’m disappointed by the president’s decision to not include this funding, which would have met the time frame needed, and will continue to look to the new Democratic Congress to maintain healthcare for our children.”

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