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Congress Passes Latest Version of SCHIP Bill, 2nd Presidential Veto Expected

November 5, 2007

On November 1, the Senate voted 64-30 to another revised version of legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  This revised SCHIP bill passed the House on October 25 by a vote of 265-142.  Like the previous version of SCHIP, this bill is expected to draw a Presidential veto.  Since there are not enough votes in the House to override this veto, it is expected that talks will continue to come up with a compromise that can secure additional Republican votes in the House.

This newest SCHIP bill (HR 3963) contains a number of changes and clarifications intended to garner the support from Republican House members that voted in favor of upholding the President’s veto.  These changes include:

  • Tighter standards for states seeking to open their programs to children in families between 200% and 300% of the federal poverty level (about $60,000 for a family of four),
  • New performance bonuses for states that provide funding to employed parents to cover the additional cost of enrolling their children in their existing workplace coverage (thereby avoiding families turning down employer coverage to access SCHIP), and
  • New standards to ensure that all SCHIP enrollees are citizens or legal residents, including new requirements for verification of Social Security numbers and citizenship documentation. 

HR 3963 maintains the overall goal of enrolling 10 million children in SCHIP over the next five years and making improvements such as a new requirement for equitable coverage of mental illness treatment.

Click here to view additional background on the SCHIP bill and its importance to uninsured children living with mental illness.