Congress has sent President Bush a measure that will help maintain federal funding for state programs that insure the health of residents with medical problems.

Members of the Senate moved unanimously Wednesday to approve the high-risk pool bill, H.R. 4519, the State High-Risk Pool Funding Extension Act.

Members of the House approved the same bill by a voice vote in December 2000.

The bill, introduced by Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., will provide $15 million grant funding for risk pools through the end of the year and $75 million in risk pool subsidies through 2010.

Congress also has sent the president another bill, S. 1932, which includes a shorter provision authorizing extra risk pool funding.

The National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va., has issued a statement welcoming passage of H.R. 4519.

“The development of these pools is the best way a state can ensure individuals suffering from catastrophic medical conditions have access to high-quality affordable private health insurance coverage, while ensuring stability in state-level individual and small group health insurance markets,” NAHU Chief Executive Janet Trautwein says in the statement. “High-risk pools spread the risk of medically uninsurable individuals, helping to stabilize all health insurance markets and benefiting all American citizens.”

Links to information about H.R. 4519 are on the Web at Document Link