Graeme Frost, the Baltimore youth whose advocacy of the State Children's Health Insurance Program a while back drew the consternation of Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and others on the right, jumped back into the fray today.

Now 13, Graeme appeared with Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett at a Takoma Park event to rally support for expanding the program for moderate-income families not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

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In 2007, when Democrats in Congress were trying to expand the program, they called on the Frost family for help. In the party's weekly radio address, Graeme, then 12, described how SCHIP helped his family after a 2004 car crash left him and a younger sister comatose.

That drew fire from some conservatives, who took to the blogosphere to speculate on the family's finances and whether they qualified for the program or really needed the help.

In one memorable comment, a contributor to the conservative web site Redstate said: "If federal funds were required [they] could die for all I care. Let the parents get second jobs, let their state foot the bill or let them seek help from private charities. ... I would hire a team of PIs and find out exactly how much their parents made and where they spent every nickel. Then I'd do everything possible to destroy their lives with that info."

Congress voted in 2007 to expand SCHIP but the legislation was vetoed by President Bush.

A release from Van Hollen's office quoted Graeme as optimistic that Congress would soon approve and Barack Obama would sign legislation that would expand the number of Maryland children covered from 110,000 to 175,000.

"Children like me across the country will be much healthier thanks to President-Elect Obama and the 111th Congress," he said. "We kids will work with Rep. Chris Van Hollen to make sure the SCHIP bill becomes law soon."

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