Insurance groups are backing congressional efforts to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is set to expire March 31.
A reauthorization bill already has passed in the House.
Republicans have been trying to block the Senate version of the bill, but Senate members today voted 65-32 to reject Republican efforts to amend the bill.
The failed amendment would have increased the amount states are allowed to provide in premium assistance for the purchase of private insurance when children with private coverage enroll in SCHIP plans.
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Senate leaders hope to bring the bill up for a final vote Thursday.
SCHIP provides health coverage for low-income and moderate-income children who do not qualify for coverage from Medicaid. Today, about 7 million children have SCHIP coverage.
The Senate and House SCHIP bills each would require about $32 billion in funding, and each would provide coverage for about 11 million kids. Each would let states accelerate efforts to cover legal immigrants and pregnant women.
Congress would pay for SCHIP expansion by increasing federal tobacco taxes. The House bill would generate additional revenue by putting restrictions on physician-owned specialty hospitals.