Healthcare groups vowed to continue efforts to expand the State Childrens Health Insurance Program, following the House's failed attempt to override President Bushs veto of a reauthorization bill.
The vote of 273-156 was 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to achieve a veto override.
Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, in a statement said the AHA would continue to work to reauthorize and expand the program. SCHIP has helped many children get a healthy start in life, and without it, "many children who need care wont get it in a timely way, Umbdenstock said. Other groups such as the American Medical Association and Catholic Health Association issued statements making similar promises to lobby for a compromise.
The bill would have added nearly $35 billion to the programs baseline of $25 billion over five years, covering 10 million children. The administration has sought a narrower approach, adding just $5 billion to fund SCHIP at $30 billion over five years.
According to news reports, at least seven Democrats who originally voted against the bill changed their vote today. Still, House Democrats were unable to obtain enough Republican votes to override the veto. The bill would have added more adults, and provided coverage to illegal immigrants and what the Internal Revenue Service calls high-income families to the SCHIP rolls, said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in opposition to the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) countered that the bill would not provide benefits for illegal immigrants. Dont use that as an excuse to deny 10 million children access to SCHIP, she said.
Bush earlier this week reiterated his willingness to work with Congress to funnel additional money into SCHIP beyond the 20% increase he proposed in his budget for the program. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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