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Children's health insurance bill advances (review, bill ought to go to Obama soon)

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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:20 PM
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Children's health insurance bill advances (review, bill ought to go to Obama soon)
From last Friday, but this is where SCHIP stands of now, iirc. - pinto

Children's health insurance bill advances

WASHINGTON - A key Senate committee voted yesterday to expand a children's health insurance program to cover an additional 4 million uninsured children. The vote came one day after the House overwhelmingly supported a similar measure.

The measure to increase spending on the State Children's Health Insurance Program passed easily, 12-7, despite losing support from some Republicans who had worked closely with Democrats on the issue in 2007.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said he objected to giving states the option of covering children of legal immigrants through Medicaid and SCHIP. He also said the legislation failed to include provisions from two years ago designed to cut out higher-income families.

All the Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee voted for the bill, which was sponsored by the committee's Democratic chairman, Max Baucus. They were joined by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine.

Similar legislation passed the House Wednesday by an overwhelming margin, 289-139. /

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report

Capitol Hill Watch | House Passes SCHIP Reauthorization, Expansion Bill; Senate To Act Soon

The House on Wednesday voted 289-139 to approve a bill (HR 2) renewing and expanding SCHIP to about four million additional children, the New York Times reports (Pear, New York Times, 1/15). Under the expansion, similar to one that was vetoed by President Bush in 2007, children in families with incomes of up to three times the federal poverty level would qualify for the program. Supporters of the bill say it will raise the number of children covered by SCHIP from around seven million to around 11 million (Armstrong <1>, CQ Today, 1/14). The measure extends the program by four-and-one-half years at a cost of $32.3 billion, on top of the current $25 billion cost of the program (New York Times, 1/15). SCHIP's current authorization expires March 31 (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 1/14). The bill would almost be completely funded by a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the federal cigarette tax (New York Times, 1/15).

The bill also includes a provision that would allow states to waive the federally mandated five-year waiting period for documented immigrants seeking to receive public benefits in the case of children and pregnant women (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 1/15). Supporters of the provision say about 400,000 to 600,000 children would be added to SCHIP if all states choose to cover children of documented immigrants and pregnant documented immigrants (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 1/14).

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The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This is Title XXI of the Social Security Act and is jointly financed by the Federal and State governments and administered by the States. Within broad Federal guidelines, each State determines the design of its program, eligibility groups, benefit packages, payment levels for coverage, and administrative and operating procedures. SCHIP provides a capped amount of funds to States on a matching basis for Federal fiscal years (FY) 1998 through 2007. Federal payments under title XXI to States are based on State expenditures under approved plans effective on or after October 1, 1997.

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