Healthcare groups organize for SCHIP

WASHINGTON: A number of healthcare groups were busy organizing events this week after political maneuvering on both sides of the aisle put the future of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in doubt.

WASHINGTON: A number of healthcare groups were busy organizing events this week after political maneuvering on both sides of the aisle put the future of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in doubt.

After the Senate Finance Committee unveiled their proposal to extend SCHIP as the previous week closed, the White House began the week by threatening to use a veto to block the move.

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF), which is in the midst of their "Healthy Child Campaign" to encourage Congress to act on the matter, has increased their communications efforts as the issue reaches a boiling point.

Next week, according to Nayeera Haq, press secretary for CDF, the group will gather 8,500 children in more than 60 cities to visit the offices of their Senators. The group has also created a coalition of 1,100 faith, education, and child advocacy organizations to endorse the CDF campaign. Haq said there will also be a number of ad buys to supplement the grassroots efforts.

Also next week, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) plans to hold a Capitol Hill press conference with a number of participants to keep the spotlight on the issue. Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the CHA was deeply critical of President Bush in recent statements. Families USA will also participate in next week's event, and the group is keeping a close eye on developments according to press secretary Robert Meissner.

Meanwhile, the American Medical Association (AMA) launched an advertising campaign to support an increase in the tobacco tax to fund the program. The print ads, mostly running in Washington, ask Congress to increase the federal tobacco tax to fund the reauthorization of SCHIP.

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