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urges speedy SCHIP passage
Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2007 – The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) today joined several groups calling for Congress to quickly reauthorize SCHIP – the state children's health insurance program.
The Rev. Michael Livingston, president of the NCC and executive director of the International Council of Community Churches, urged Congress to quickly pass a conference bill "that covers as many children as possible" before funding ends for the current program on Sept. 30.
"Lack of access to affordable and quality health care has a profoundly negative impact on the quality of life for our children. It puts them at greater risk to have learning challenges, higher absenteeism and more serious illnesses from diseases that are preventable and treatable if caught in early stages," Livingston told a Capitol Hill news conference
Livingston said the SCHIP legislation is not just an economic, social, education or a moral issue, but it is also "a spiritual issue."
"Our scriptures teach us not to put our children or those living in poverty in harm's way. In the Gospel of Matthew (18:6) Jesus said: 'If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.'"
"Failure to reauthorize SCHIP," said Livingston, "or allowing a presidential veto is tantamount to placing stumbling blocks in the path of our children."
The House and Senate versions of the SCHIP funding legislation are currently in a conference committee.
The complete text of Livingston's statement:
NCC News contact: Dan Webster, 212.870.2252, NCCnews@ncccusa.org
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