Children’s Health Care
On Wednesday, the House is expected to pass the Senate version of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP] reauthorization bill. This legislation renews the joint state-federal program, spends an additional $32.8 billion to expand coverage to four million more children and gives states the option of extending health coverage to legal immigrant children.
The bill passed the Senate on the heels of “rancorous debate, “ as Republican lawmakers
introduced numerous amendments to water down the legislation and limit its reach. GOP lawmakers in both the House and the Senate objected to a provision allowing states to eliminate the five year waiting period for immigrants to obtain health coverage and criticized the bill for expanding eligibility to too many low-income children.
Republicans maintained that no expansion should occur until the very poorest children-those at 200% of the Federal Poverty Line- are covered and argued that expanding children’s health insurance would force millions with private coverage into a public program.
In fact, one half of new patients who had private insurance before enrolling in SCHIP lost their private insurance for involuntary reasons, such as when parents lost their jobs became divorced or employers stoppe4d offering health insurance for dependents.
The swift passage of children’s health insurance shows that comprehensive health reform is possible.
Source: The Progress Report, February 2,2009