CHN: Negotiations Continue to Secure Veto-Proof Majority on Children’s Health Bill
On November 1 the Senate passed the latest version of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill (H.R. 3963) by a vote of 64-30. The bill passed a week earlier in the House, but without sufficient votes to override a Presidential veto. (For a summary of the bill see the Human Needs Report.) Instead of sending H.R. 3963 to the President, which he promised to veto, members from both sides of the aisle and from both chambers have been meeting to work out a compromise that can gain a veto-proof majority. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) have led the negotiations with House Republicans. To date no deal has been announced. Advocates hope a strong bill will emerge from the negotiations, which keeps with the Democratic Leadership’s promise of insuring 10 million children.
According to a new analysis by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families it is critical that Congress pass a strong renewal of SCHIP. The analysis states that: “If children continue to lose coverage at the rate they lost coverage in 2006, nearly 2,000 children a day will join the ranks of the uninsured.” This is in addition to the 9 million children currently uninsured. (Find the full analysis at the Center for Children and Families’ website.)
A temporary extension of SCHIP, which would expire on December 14, was included in the stopgap measure Congress passed last week to keep the government running. This continuing resolution was attached to the Defense appropriations bill that the President signed on November 13.