Enrollment in the State Childrens Health Insurance Program increased by about 4% to 7.4 million in 2008 from 7.1 million in 2007, HHS announced.
During fiscal 2008, 334,616 adults were covered with SCHIP funds, according to enrollment data provided by the CMS.
It is no surprise that SCHIP enrollment went up in 2008, and we expect this trend to continue well into 2009 if the program is reauthorized, acting HHS Secretary Charles Johnson said in a written statement. Congress temporarily extended SCHIP funding through March 31.
The news on SCHIP enrollment was released on the eve of the Senates consideration of a $31.5 billion bill that seeks to preserve coverage for as many as 6.7 million children now enrolled, while providing coverage to 3.9 million additional uninsured, low-income children. The reauthorization bill would be funded primarily by a 61-cent increase in the federal tax on cigarettes, with proportional increases for other tobacco products.
Partisan debate over the bills eligibility requirementsspecifically the inclusion of SCHIP coverage for legal immigrantsis expected to take place on the Senate floor. We need stronger eligibility requirements, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Monday afternoon. Amendments need to be adopted to improve the legislation. If not, a lot of Republicans will not be able to support this bill.
If Republicans try to block passage of the bill, We would have to file cloture, which would force a vote on whether to end debate to proceed to a final vote on the bill, according to an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Under Senate rules, this process takes a couple of days. Jennifer Lubell