Expansion of Children’s Health Insurance Set To Clear House Today
The House on Wednesday is expected to approve legislation that would reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and President Obama is expected to sign the bill, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Freking, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/4).
SCHIP is set to expire on March 31.
Under the bill, children in families with incomes of up to three times the federal poverty level would qualify for the program. The measure would exempt New Jersey and New York state from those income eligibility requirements and would allow the states to expand coverage to children in higher-income families.
The bill also would eliminate a five-year waiting period for documented immigrant children and pregnant women to become eligible for the program (California Healthline, 1/30).
In addition, the bill would allow states to offer dental care through SCHIP to children who have private coverage that does not include dental benefits (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/4).
The measure would increase SCHIP spending by $32.8 billion over the four-and-a-half-year period and would be funded by a 62-cent-per-pack increase in the federal cigarette tax, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office estimate.
CBO estimates that the bill would provide coverage for an additional four million children by 2013, while continuing coverage for seven million children already in the program (California Healthline, 1/30).
The Senate approved the measure last week after adopting several amendments.
On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee voted not to permit amendments to the Senate bill (Wayne, CQ Today, 2/3).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he expects Obama to sign the bill on Wednesday (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/4).
Broadcast CoverageOn Wednesday, KQED's "The California Report" included a discussion about the SCHIP legislation and its implications for California (Varney, "The California Report," KQED, 2/3). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.