Pages tagged "Health"
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, received the Champion of Children Award on Monday from First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy group for children’s issues.
The award recognizes her continued support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The program provides federal matching funds to states that offer health insurance to families with children.
United States House of Representatives Votes to Turn Back the Clock on Health Care for Kids
Washington D.C. - Today, the United States House of Representatives voted in favor of repealing The Affordable Care Act. The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, expressed disappointment in those Members of the House who voted to repeal the historic health reform law that moved America closer to universal coverage for children.
Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:
“The passage of The Affordable Care Act was a critical step forward in improving our nation’s broken health care system. We are deeply disappointed by the decisions of those Members who voted to turn back the clock on health care, especially for our nation’s children, by repealing this critical law.
“The repeal of health reform would be devastating for the millions of children and families who already are or soon will benefit from this historic legislation, which expands coverage to millions of children and their families and includes important insurance market reforms to eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions and lifetime benefits for children. It is indisputable that our nation’s children, especially low-income children and those with special health care needs are better off today because of the new law.
“The Affordable Care Act is a responsible and cost-effective investment in the health and health care of every American. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, health reform will not only reduce the budget deficit in the next ten years by more than $230 billion, it also will ensure that an estimated 32 million Americans who are uninsured or underinsured can get high quality, affordable health coverage they can rely on. A First Focus analysis revealed that health reform is also a win for state budgets, finding that states could reap significant budget savings as a result of the legislation.
“We strongly urge Members of Congress to move forward with implementation of The Affordable Care Act. When we help children grow and succeed, we are paving the way for our country's next generation of workers and leaders to fulfill the American Dream. Protecting the health of our nation’s children is not just the right thing to do. It is one of the best investments we can make as a nation.”
New Legislation Calls for a National Effort to Assess and Improve the Well-Being of America’s Children
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) will introduce the Children’s Act of 2010, a bill to address the challenges facing our nation’s youth by establishing a National Council on Children. The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, voiced its strong support for the legislation, which aims to establish the United States as a frontrunner in improving the lives of children.
Specifically, the National Council on Children will annually assess the performance of the United States in ensuring the well-being of children. In addition, the Council will develop a set of national goals to improve the lives of youth, and make recommendations to advance children’s well-being.
“It’s in our nation’s best interest to raise the most healthy, most educated, best-prepared children in the world for the challenges that lie ahead. Yet on virtually every index, America’s children are falling behind. Today in America one in five kids is born into poverty, 30 percent of students fail to graduate from high school, and 8 million children lack health insurance,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “A coordinated, national action plan to improve child well-being is essential to raise the visibility of children in federal policy, solidify our commitment to the nation’s future, and ensure that we can meet the needs of the next generation. We applaud Senator Dodd and Senator Casey for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation which will generate momentum for improving the lives of our nation’s youth.”
Senator Dodd is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families.
“The subcommittee has provided an important forum for our country's elected leaders and children advocates to focus on the needs of our children. And it has played a vital role, shedding light on the struggles our nation’s children face,” said Senator Dodd. “What we have learned is that our children are in crisis. It is critical that we create a new national council on children to closely examine the needs of children and identify solutions to improve their lives. With Senator Casey’s deep understanding of the challenges children in America face, I am confident he will be able to champion this important effort in the next Senate. It is time to put a specific and targeted focus on our children, the future of our country, and create a national council on children.”
“I am pleased to partner with Senator Dodd on the Children’s Act of 2010 which will provide an opportunity to help a new generation of children and families,” said Senator Casey. “By creating a National Council on Children, we will be able to help our nation and leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors to develop a road-map to ensure that the current generation of young Americans has as many opportunities to succeed as possible. And we will ensure that even in challenging times, American families have the support they need to raise healthy families. Senator Dodd’s dedication and work on children’s issues during his time in the United States Senate has improved the lives of millions of children.”
In 1991, a former National Commission on Children approved a blueprint for national policy to benefit America’s children and families. In response, Congress and the President expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, created the Child Tax Credit, and established the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The goal of the new National Council on Children would be to catalyze the next generation of groundbreaking policies for children and families.
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This is it—the final push. With only one more day until the election, campaigns and candidates are making their final petitions to voters. Recently, a number of news articles, including stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post, noted that in these final days candidates have spent more time exhibiting themselves as parents and being accompanied by their children on the campaign trail. Political consultants call this type of campaign tactic “ending positive,” a removal from the months of attack ads to focus on more positive imagery, like families and children.
Throughout the election season, First Focus has been urging campaigns to make the needs of children a topic of the political debates taking place across the country. While we’re thrilled to finally see candidates embracing their roles as parents and care takers of the next generation, we’re disappointed that conversation around improving the lives of children did not occur sooner. The truth is, there are serious challenges facing our next generation and voters deserve to know where candidates stand on these critical issues.
In our nation today, one in five kids is born into poverty, nine million kids are living without health insurance, and 1.2 million students are dropping out of school each year. There are real solutions to each of these problems, but realizing them takes true leadership. We’ll soon choose the men and women who will decide how – or even whether – we respond to these issues. Will we have representatives in Congress who see kids only as a photo opportunity? Or will we have representatives who understand that supporting our children isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s one of the best investments we can make as a nation?
Tomorrow, the choice is up to you.
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This week, the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health convened for a field hearing in Newark, New Jersey. Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ), who chaired the hearing in his home state, took this opportunity to scrutinize the dangerous limitations within the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and most specifically how toxins are effecting our most valuable natural resource; our children.
In 1976, TSCA was enacted giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to oversee the safety new or previously existing chemicals. Today, nearly 84,000 chemicals are registered in the TSCA inventory for use within the United States, and currently only regulates five of these. Additionally,, because the language in the law designates that safety testing of chemicals can be done after evidence surfaces that it is dangerous; only a startling 200 of these chemicals have actually been tested for their impact on Americans, and fewer for their effects on children. Senator Lautenberg has legislation currently pending in the Senate, “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010”, that would amend TSCA to provide the EPA with greater ability to regulate chemicals, as well as requiring manufacturers to prove the safety of the chemicals used in production and goods on the market.
There were five witnesses present at Tuesday’s hearing, perhaps the two most recognizable being EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent and Neurologist Dr. Sanjay Gupta. As Administrator Jackson testified in front of the subcommittee, her words were sobering, "Everything from our cars to the cell phones we all have in our pockets are made with chemicals. A child born in America today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than any other generation in our history.” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Dr. Frederica Perera, director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health took this point one step further in their testimonies. In recalling the findings of EWG’s study of toxins and pregnancy, Cook noted that hundreds of toxic chemicals have been found in the blood of babies in the womb— anything from flame retardants to makeup and shampoos. Dr. Perera additionally noted that Columbia’s study, which focused on the connection between toxins in umbilical cord blood and later problems in the child’s development or intelligence, found that higher the concentration of toxins in the blood the lower the IQ was of the child. However, it was perhaps Dr. Gupta who explained this both vividly and succinctly: “Babies in this country are born pre-polluted.”
The information in this hearing should not just serve as a wake-up call for parents and expecting parents, but for the entire nation. It is unclear as to when Senator Launtenberg’s bill will be taken up by the Senate, but it is in all of our best interests that the bill is considered as soon as possible.
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Washington D.C. – Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children, a national, bipartisan child advocacy group, released the names of Members of Congress identified as the most valuable leaders on issues important to children. The announcement today launches the group’s inaugural campaign to recognize the top 100 Members of Congress who make improving the well-being of children a national priority.
Of the 100 Members of Congress recognized by the group today, 50 Members were named “Champions for Children” on account of their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation. An additional 50 Members were awarded the title “Defenders of Children” and are being recognized for their support of policies that advance the well-being of children.
“We applaud our Champions and Defenders of Children for their unflagging commitment to protect our nation’s future,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the Campaign for Children. “Children cannot vote, hold press conferences, or donate to political campaigns to thank the Members of Congress that support them and protect their interests. And because of that, today we are honoring those Members on behalf of children. This award is intended to give recognition to our nation's top public officials who take action to make children a national priority. We look forward to working with our Champions and Defenders to continue protecting America’s next generation of leaders.”
In selecting the Champions and Defenders honored today, the First Focus Campaign for Children took note of leaders who introduced, co-sponsored, and voted for legislation that would best meet the needs of children. In addition, the organization considered Members who demonstrated extraordinary initiative by spearheading activities such as sponsoring hearings or garnering the support of their colleagues to improve the health and well-being of children.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) will be honored as a Champion for Children at a Children’s Budget Summit hosted by the bi-partisan Campaign for Children.
Senator Lincoln is one of only three Senators recognized at the event with this honor, marking her as one of the top leaders in Congress for federal investments that deliver for America’s children. First Focus cited, in particular, Senator Lincoln’s leadership on child nutrition, children’s health, and the Child Tax Credit – issues particularly important for Arkansas.
“Senator Blanche Lincoln has raised the profile of children’s issues in Congress and served as a true leader on issues like child health and nutrition, child care, and child welfare,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children. We thank Senator Lincoln for her unflagging commitment to making America’s children a top priority of our nation.”
Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, agreed with that assessment. “Senator Lincoln has consistently stood up for children in Arkansas and across the country,” he said.
“Children are our most precious blessings, and throughout my public service I’ve been proud to fight for federal resources and measures to ensure their health, safety, and well being,” Senator Lincoln said. “I am proud to advocate for improved nutrition, access to quality education and health care, and safe and loving homes for our children, and I thank First Focus and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for sharing this commitment.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a sweeping overhaul of our nation’s health care system. The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, praised the House for passing historic legislation that moves America closer to universal coverage for children. Specifically, the package preserves and extends the successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through September 30, 2019 with full funding extended through fiscal year 2015. In addition, the legislation ensures that, starting immediately, no child can be denied health care coverage based on a pre-existing condition.
First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley released the following statement:
“President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Leader Reid should be praised for their efforts to ensure national health reform made children a top priority. This new health reform bill is better for children than those passed in the House of Representatives or the Senate individually. Importantly, it adopts the Senate language that protects and expands the Children's Health Insurance Program for millions of children through 2015. The compromise bill also moves toward better positions for children in the House bill, by ensuring no child can be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Further, the compromise favors the House's focus on making the new ‘health insurance exchanges’ affordable for low-income families. And finally, it exceeds both chambers’ bills by providing additional federal fiscal support to state Medicaid and CHIP programs, ensuring that access to coverage is improved for all low-income children.
“When President Obama began the fight to reform our nation’s health care system, he promised that we would ‘fix what’s broken and build on what works.’ We are pleased to see Congress and the President adhere to this principle, by passing reform legislation that ensures every American child will have access to affordable, quality health coverage. And throughout this process, Senators Robert Casey, Jay Rockefeller, Jeff Bingaman, Robert Menendez, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd, Debbie Stabenow and Reps. Linda Sanchez, Rosa DeLauro, Bobby Scott, Bobby Rush, and Lois Capps have been champions for children, ensuring our young people are not adversely affected by health reform. We thank them and Congressional leadership for their commitment to the health and wellbeing of our nation's future leaders."
The organization also lauded the inclusion of simplified enrollment measures that cut the red tape families currently deal with when enrolling their children in CHIP and/or Medicaid. Further, the proposal allows children to stay on their parents' health plan through age 26.
This legislation follows a First Focus public opinion survey finding that providing health coverage for all children is at the top of the public’s priorities for health care reform.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) will be honored as a Champion for Children at a summit today hosted by the First Focus Campaign for Children.
“I have always believed that as an elected official it is my responsibility to advocate for those in the dawn of their lives and ensure that the well-being of children and families remains a priority,” said Senator Casey. “With that said, it is both humbling and a great honor to receive the Champion for Children Award from First Focus.”
Senator Casey is one of only three Senators recognized with this honor at the event, marking him as one of the top leaders in Congress for federal investments that deliver for America’s children. First Focus cited, in particular, Senator Casey’s leadership on early childhood, preservation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other work on behalf of young people – issues particularly important for Pennsylvania.
“Senator Bob Casey has raised the profile of children’s issues in Congress and served as a true leader on issues of importance to our nation’s children,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “We thank Senator Casey for his unflagging commitment to making America’s children a top priority of our nation.”
Joan Benso, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, was in town for the policy summit and agreed with that assessment. “Throughout his career in public service Senator Casey has consistently advanced the needs of children in Pennsylvania and across the country,” she said. “His leadership at the state and federal level has resulted in more children having access to high quality health care and early learning opportunities. Pennsylvania’s children are lucky to have him as their senator.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) will be honored as a Champion for Children at a Children’s Budget Summit hosted by the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus.
Senator Lugar is one of only three Senators recognized at the event with this honor, marking him as one of the top leaders in Congress for federal investments that deliver for America’s children. First Focus cited, in particular, Senator Lugar’s leadership on children’s health and nutrition – issues particularly important for Indiana.
“Senator Richard Lugar has raised the profile of children’s issues in Congress and served as a true leader on issues like child health and nutrition,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. “We thank Senator Lugar for his unflagging commitment to making America’s children a top priority of our nation.”
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