States will withdraw plans to sue the Bush administration if Congress successfully overrides President Bushs veto of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire announced during a teleconference.
Four states to dateIllinois, Maryland, New York, and Washingtonhave filed lawsuits challenging new restrictions that the administration issued in August regarding coverage for children from families earning more than 250% of the federal poverty level. In addition, Arizona, California, New Hampshire and New Jersey will be filing supportive amicus briefs.
These draconian rules, which were issued without going through the standard rulemaking process, would severely curtail states ability to provide healthcare to low-income families, said Gregoire, a Democrat, who joined several Democratic senators and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in the teleconference.
An override of the presidential veto on the House-Senate compromise bill, however, would cancel the need to pursue the lawsuits, Gregoire said. The reauthorization bill, which would provide an additional $34.7 billion to the program over five years, has been vetoed by the president. During the teleconference, Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) pledged to work for an override vote.
The challenge lies in the House, however, which fell short of enough votes to override a presidential veto when it approved the bill. We want to work with doctors, hospitals and other providers to make sure the House understands how important it is to override the veto, Cantwell said. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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