House members may not get to vote on a streamlined State Children’s Health Insurance Plan bill Sept. 25 after all.
The law authorizing SCHIP is set to expire Sept. 30.
Lawmakers have spent weeks trying to hammer out differences between the House SCHIP extension bill, which includes $50 billion in new funding along with Medicare Advantage regulations and funding cuts, and the Senate extension bill, which includes only $35 billion in new funding and no significant Medicare Advantage regulations and funding cuts.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, earlier today was telling fellow Democrats that they soon would be voting on a compromise version of the bill that would be similar to the Senate bill.
But House negotiators insisted on keeping the House Medicare Advantage provisions, and talks have broken down, congressional staffers report.
President Bush today asked Congress to send him a short-term SCHIP extension bill while it is working on longer-term reauthorization.
“Members of Congress are putting poor children at risk so they can score political points in Washington,” Bush said at a news conference. “More than a million children could lose health coverage” if the program is allowed to expire.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., says the kind of short-term extension bill Bush wants would cause thousands of low-income children to lose their health coverage.
“The move the president is suggesting will kick kids out of doctor’s offices all across the country,” Baucus says.
Bush could help Congress pass a long-term SCHIP extension bill by dropping his threat to veto either the House or the Senate SCHIP bill if one of them should cross his desk.