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Support Children’s Health Insurance!

January 27, 2009

The Senate today began debate on legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  The bill (HR 2) is similar to legislation that passed the House on January 14, by a vote of 289-139.  SCHIP reauthorization bills were vetoed by former President Bush in 2007 and 2008. 


Contact your Senators, and urge them to vote in favor of renewal of the SCHIP program.  The bill would renew the program for 4.5 years and add an additional 4 million low-income children to the program. 

Remind your Senators that the bill is nearly identical to previous versions of SCHIP legislation from the 110th Congress.  The bill would also allow states to add legal immigrant children to their SCHIP programs.  Finally, the bill contains a provision ensuring that all private sector SCHIP plans comply with the Paul Wellstone & Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 – the new federal parity law.

All Senate offices can be reached by calling 1-800-828-0498.

Details on the Senate SCHIP Legislation

The Senate version of HR 2:

  • Will cover approximately 4 million additional uninsured children,
  • Is fully paid for, primarily with a 61-cent increase in the federal tobacco tax
  • Extends federal support for CHIP through 2013,
  • Encourages states to enroll children who are already eligible but not yet covered, and gives states new tools to reach uninsured children,
  • Makes sure that federal funding goes to states that are using the money (to ensure that the greatest number of children get coverage),
  • Makes it easier for people who are U.S. citizens to document their citizenship status by allowing access to government databases (but extends the requirement to document citizenship to CHIP, whereas before it had applied only to Medicaid),
  • Allows states to cover children in families with incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level with full federal CHIP funding but does not establish a "cap" on eligibility level,
  • Requires states to change the way they fund coverage for the parents of kids in SCHIP after 2010.   

Click here for additional information on the new SCHIP reauthorization bill.