Funding Efforts for Kids’ Insurance Compete for Support
Senate Democrats have begun work on "competing" bills to reauthorize SCHIP, which will expire on Sept. 30 without congressional action, The Hill reports.
The Senate Budget Committee last week approved a fiscal year 2008 budget resolution that would require the Senate Finance Committee to find $50 billion in offsets for an expansion of SCHIP, $15 billion of which would come from "reducing certain overpayments to health care providers."
Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) hopes to complete work on SCHIP reauthorization legislation by late spring, but other lawmakers have begun work on other proposals, "complicating the already difficult task of drafting a bill that adds tens of billions of dollars in new spending," The Hill reports.
Senate Finance Health Subcommittee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) in the next two weeks plans to introduce SCHIP reauthorization legislation "that he expects to be the starting point for the committee's work," The Hill reports.
Meanwhile, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have begun to develop SCHIP reauthorization legislation, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) last week introduced a bill with Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).
According to The Hill, Democrats "are seeking to demonstrate their commitment to reducing the number of uninsured in advance of a presidential election expected to feature health care issues," but their efforts "face obstacles in the form of a recalcitrant President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress."
A Senate Finance Committee aide said, "Chairman Baucus is talking about (S)CHIP with just about everybody," adding that Baucus might not cosponsor the Rockefeller bill.
A Rockefeller spokesperson said, "Everybody's supportive, I think, of everybody's efforts."
According to a Kennedy spokesperson, Kennedy has "been in close contact with Rockefeller and is open to working with Baucus, Clinton and others in getting a strong (S)CHIP authorization" (Young, The Hill, 3/20).