Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said he hopes to mark up a bill next week to reauthorize the State Childrens Health Insurance Program.
SCHIP is a bipartisan issue we can all agree on, Baucus told reporters after a bipartisan meeting with Senate Finance Committee members today, although issues remain on what types of adults should be included in the program as well as what funding sources.
Congress recently approved a budget blueprint that funds SCHIP at $50 billion above its current baseline funding over five years, and overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans, plus a tobacco tax, remain two potential options for offsetting new SCHIP funds.
The committee has yet to produce an actual reauthorization bill, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the panels ranking member, seemed less confident that a markup was imminent. The legislation has yet to be scored, and there are still a lot of things that need to be worked out, he told reporters.
Questions remain about whether the bill will proceed as a standalone, straightforward reauthorization bill or if lawmakers will attach language on other healthcare issues, such as a potential fix to Medicares formula for setting physician payments. Weighing down the bill with a formula fix poses concerns among some committee members, Baucus said. -- by Jennifer Lubell