Bipartisan legislation expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan was scheduled to be reported out by the Senate Finance Committee at press time last July 19th, setting the stage for a spirited floor debate in the face of a veto threat from the Bush administration.
“It’s important that we reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking minority member of the panel said in opening the debate on the bill.
“Too many children in America don’t have health care coverage,” Grassley said. “This bill will reduce those numbers by 2.7 million. It does so in a way that’s cost-effective and uses appropriate targeted policies.”
The legislation, S. 1224, “the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007,” was originally introduced by Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
But it was redrafted by Grassley and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the committee, and reintroduced July 13th to represent a compromise; bipartisan proposal aimed to head off threats of a presidential veto.
It would use an increase in taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products to increase program funding by an average of $7 billion per year for 5 years.
The program now gets about $5 billion in funding per year, and the Bush administration has proposed increasing CHIP funding by about $1 billion per year.