Members of Congress have joined with some of the most influential healthcare interest groups to again try to discourage President Bush from vetoing childrens health coverage legislation. The House and Senate completed compromise legislation on Monday that would fund the 10-year-old State Childrens Health Insurance Program with an additional $34.7 billion over five years and extend coverage to about 10 million children primarily from low-income families.
The House is expected to vote on the bill later today, with a Senate vote likely on Thursday.
President Bushs assertions that Congress is trying to expand SCHIP to higher income children and beyond its original intent is not true, said Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the panels chairman. It focuses on the lowest-income kids, and it does not raise SCHIP to higher income levels.
In addition, the bill would move adults out of the program and would discourage states from covering higher-income children, said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committees ranking member.
The senators joined a coalition of nine policy groups, including the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Catholic Health Association and Families USA, at the news conference to support passage of the bill.
The AHA supports the House-Senate compromise, AHA President Richard Umbdenstock said in an interview. If SCHIP expires and millions of children lose coverage and end up in the emergency rooms of hospitals, that would be disastrous for kids at the very least, he said. -- by Jennifer Lubell
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your letter to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.