SCHIP Bill Passes Senate
Legislation to extend health insurance to 4 million additional children has won Senate approval, paving the way for President Obama to sign a final bill as early as next week.
The Senate yesterday passed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), by a vote of 66 to 32. Former president George W. Bush twice vetoed similar bills in 2007.
The current SCHIP program, funded by both federal and state governments at a cost of $25 billion, covers 7 million children of families that can't afford health insurance but don't qualify for Medicaid because their incomes are too high. The program, which is set to expire in March, would be extended through 2013 under the new legislation and cost an additional $33 billion.
As unemployment rises, more families are finding it hard to pay for health care. Meanwhile, more and more children are being diagnosed with diabetes. Some 186,300 people under the age of 20 had type 1 or type 2 diabetes as of 2007, the most recent statistics available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The House of Representatives approved SCHIP expansion on January 14, and Obama is expected to sign a final version of the legislation within days. Obama made healthcare for all children a promise of his presidential campaign. His platform also included an expansion of Medicaid, which provides health care coverage for low-income families.