On Wednesday, the House is expected to pass the Senate version of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill. The 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. “Governors, business executives and consumer advocates lobbied for the expansion, arguing that more and more families have sought the assistance in this weakened economy,” notes the Washington Postl. “During this economic turmoil, it is critical that we maintain and strengthen this important lifeline to our nation’s children and that we help financially strapped states respond to the growing need for affordable health-care coverage,” said Cindy Mann, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. Yet despite the broad consensus, 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.
From The Progress Report