CHN: White House, Congress Fail to Save $1.1 Billion in Expiring SCHIP Funds
By failing to act before the end of the session, Congress is allowing $1.1 billion in earmarked funds for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to revert back to the U.S. Treasury. Although the President claimed on the campaign trail that he supported insuring more of the nation’s 8.4 million uninsured children, he did nothing to press Congress to pass legislation that would have redistributed the unspent funds to the states.
The money is not necessarily gone for good, however. Retroactive restoration of the SCHIP funds is still possible and advocates will push the 109th Congress to restore the money.
Despite broad bipartisan support for saving the expiring SCHIP funds, the 108th Congress did not pass S 2759 or HR 4936 , legislation that would have kept the $1.1 billion within the SCHIP program to address unmet health needs through 2007, when the bill would have to be reauthorized. This legislation would provide Congress additional time to develop a more comprehensive solution to the challenges faced by states over the next several years.
For More Information
October 1, 2004 Human Needs Report: Children’s Health Insurance Funds Expiring
Families USA: $1.1 Billion in Children’s Health Insurance Funds to be Returned to the U.S. Treasury
CBPP: Assessing the Administration’s Claims that Extending SCHIP is Not Necessary