Members of the Senate Finance Committee have hashed out an agreement to renew and expand funding for the State Childrens Health Insurance Program at $35 billion over five years above the baseline of $25 billion and expand certain federal poverty requirements to ensure that more low-income children are covered.
Provisions agreed to by a clutch of Democratic and Republican senators would also phase out adults currently covered under the program and would strip the HHS from providing state waivers.
The White House, however, has threatened to veto legislation that goes beyond the presidents recommendation of $5 billion over five years.
Under the bipartisan agreement, the increased funding would be enough to cover about 1.9 million children who would have lost SCHIP funding and allow for the enrollment of 3.3 million children not already in the program, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), said in a written statement.
Other provisions would allot $400 million for unforeseen emergencies, like funding shortfalls, which occur within the five-year period. Also, about $700 million would go toward grants to help states enhance outreach and enrollment efforts. Additionally, a quality measurement and improvement program would be created for children enrolled in the program.
SCHIP, which is set to expire Sept. 30, covers roughly 6.6 million children from low-income families.
The Senate proposal would be paid for by increasing the federal tobacco tax 61 cents per pack of cigarettes and other related tobacco products, which the Joint Committee on Taxation said would yield $35.7 billion over five years, and $71 billion over 10. The full Finance Committee is expected to finalize a bill tomorrow. -- by Matthew DoBias