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Your help needed: take action now to support SCHIP, public health funding.

APHA is calling on its members to speak up and use their collective strength to influence public health legislation now being considered by Congress.

Specifically, APHA is asking its members to show their support for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which is up for reauthorization this year. Created in 1997, SCHIP provides health coverage to 4 million low-income children and is credited with significantly reducing the nation's uninsurance rate.

APHA is calling on Congress to dedicate at least $60 billion in new funds over five years for SCHIP reauthorization. Funding needs to be increased to prevent future state budgetary shortfalls--which can cause children to become uninsured--as well as to ensure that every child eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid can be enrolled in the programs, according to Courtney Perlino, MPP, an APHA health policy analyst.

APHA is also calling for members to weigh in on public health funding allotted under the annual federal budget process. APHA is urging Congress to adequately fund public health programs under the 2007 federal budget process, which was still unfinished as of early February, and to continue such funding with the 2008 federal budget process, which kicked off in early February.

APHA members can call their congressional legislators' offices directly and tell them to support SCHIP and public health funding, or they can use form e-mails that are available on the advocacy portion of the APHA Web site. APHA has created an SCHIP advocacy action center, online at <www. apha.org/advocacy/activities/schip/>, that includes information and resource tools.

APHA staff have been making dozens of visits to Capitol Hill in recent months, meeting with legislative staff to discuss the importance of SCHIP and health funding.

However, APHA staff can't do it by themselves.

"We need the help of APHA members," said Don Hoppert, APHA's director of government affairs. "It really does make a difference to elected officials when they hear from people in their home states."

For more on public health legislation, visit <www.apha.org/advocacy/activities>.
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Title Annotation:APHA ADVOCATES: Recent actions on public health by APHA; State Children's Health Insurance Program; American Public Health Association
Publication:The Nation's Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Words:335
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