Skip to comments.Baucus introduces SCHIP bill, sets markup
Posted on 01/13/2009 12:00:09 PM PST by Badabing Badablonde
The Senate Finance Committee will consider legislation to extend and expand the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) on Thursday, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced Tuesday.
Congressional action on the popular SCHIP measure, which passed Congress with bipartisan votes twice in 2007 but died under President Bushs veto pen, would give the incoming Obama administration a quick victory on healthcare, one of its major priorities.
Passing an SCHIP expansion also would stand as a down payment on the comprehensive health reform effort promised by President-elect Obama.
Baucus said he expects the measure to be debated on the Senate floor before the end of the month. The House Rules Committee was scheduled to take up the lower chambers version of the legislation Tuesday, setting up a vote later in the week.
The Childrens Health Insurance Program is needed now more than ever. In these tough economic times, more and more parents cant afford health coverage for their kids, Baucus said in a statement.
The Senate bill, according to Baucus, is nearly identical to the legislation passed in 2007.
The Baucus bill would cost $31.5 billion over four-and-a-half years compared to the $35 billion, five-year projected cost of the 2007 bills, a difference the committee attributes to aligning the timeframe with the federal fiscal year.
The new measure would provide SCHIP coverage to 3.9 million more children and preserve the coverage for 6.7 million children already enrolled in SCHIP. The programs authorization expires on March 31 so it would cease to exist if Congress and the Obama administration fail to act.
As in the 2007 measures, the increased spending on SCHIP would be fully offset by a 61-cent increase in the federal tax on cigarettes along with tax increases on other tobacco products.
Despite Democrats eagerness to move forward and the fact that a significant number of Republican lawmakers voted for the previous measures, the congressional GOP is not planning to simply go along.
On Monday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) laid out their principles for SCHIP in a letter to Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The letter reiterated the concerns expressed by Bush and other Republicans during the 2007 debate.
During the last Congress, while Republicans and Democrats made progress in working together on SCHIP, there remained several outstanding issues we hope we can address together this year, Boehner and Cantor wrote.
To be clear, Republicans are committed to reauthorizing SCHIP in a manner that puts poor children first, which is the original intent of the program, the GOP leaders wrote.
Among their key contentions is that SCHIP should not be expanded to children from families higher up the income scale until states have enrolled children from families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level; that the programs benefits should not supplant existing private insurance coverage; and that the program needs stronger protections against illegal immigrants obtaining benefits.
Boehner and Cantor do not mention the tobacco-tax increase in their letter, despite the strong opposition expressed by Bush and congressional Republicans in 2007.
There it is....a down payment. Couldn't have said it better myself. Why not just aim a proverbial gun at our nation's health care and tell it to run across and open field so we can shoot it in the back?
As far as the governmnet is concerned, we are all children.
Only in states where they have revenues, although God only knows where they get them. States are supposed to exhaust their SCHIP allotments every year, or experience cutbacks in the next fiscal year. Some of these states, like NM, also cover married non-pregnant adults age 25 and over.
This program doesn’t need more money.....it needs an FBI investigation.
The era of Pass, Tax and Spend has begun.
We’ll just keep taxing and printing money to cover it.
Taxpayers in Montana making $45k a year and receiving no SCHIP benefits will be subsidizing the healthcare of New Yorkers making $53k a year. Baucus should ask himself how many of the working class voters in flyover country are going to go along with this scheme for more than one or two election cycles.
I wonder if the takebacks for practitioner reimbursements is in this bill again?
Max Baucus - socialist Montana
Some montana cowboy ought to kick his ass for making montana look like a bunch of Californians.
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