February 4th, 2009
08:05 AM ET
14 years ago

House to meet, pass kids health bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House is expected to meet Wednesday and pass a bill that will expand healthcare to an estimated 4 million additional children.

The State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has already passed
the Senate.

Lawmakers in the House have said they too will approve the bill and send
it up to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Obama has made clear he wants to sign the bill quickly, calling it a bipartisan legislative success at a time when his economic stimulus bill is triggering a partisan divide.

"As the worsening economy causes families to lose their jobs and health insurance, it is vital that we redouble our efforts to ensure that every child in America has access to affordable health care," the president said in a statement on Friday.

The vote in the Senate was 66-32. All those voting against the bill were Republicans, but nine Republicans voted in favor.

SCHIP covers more than 6 million children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid - the federal health insurance program for the poor - but who can't afford private insurance.

The bill expands SCHIP by more than $32 billion over five years.

The bill's supporters say it would extend the program to an estimated 4 million additional children, paying for it with a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the federal tax on cigarettes.

Opponents argued that, among other things, it will allow undocumented immigrants to illegally access taxpayer-financed healthcare, and is insufficiently funded.

President Bush vetoed two similar bills in 2007, arguing at the time that the legislation would have encouraged families to leave the private insurance market for the federally funded, state-run program.

Filed under: House • SCHIP
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Idealist

    What about adults? Are they expendable???

    What if someone is still living below the poverty level, yet making too much for medicaid – even if "disabled", the wait time for medicare is 2 years! What does the cancer patient do in the meantime???

    PLEASE fix this broken system – FOR EVERYONE!!!

    February 4, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Texas Voter

    Hey DICK, the worst terroist incident on U.S. soil happend under your watch, so i don't think your an exspert on this. Dimplomacy works! Once we get other nations behind us, terrosim will happend less.

    February 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Tony in Maine

    Boehner and Cantor are racing around the Capitol looking for a TV news team to get face time on the evening news.

    McConnell is busy perfecting one-liners to mock access to health for little kids.

    Cornyn and Kyl are looking forward to spending next Sunday morning talking to talking heads.

    Limbaugh is sending his maid out shopping.

    It's time for the Republic (sic) Party to accept their defeat.

    February 4, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. JB

    Finally, sensible legislation.

    February 4, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Jackie in Dallas

    Shame on those Republicans who voted against this bill! Denying basic health care to future voters....

    As to undocumented immigrants having access, well, you know, we send that kind of money to countries around the world to help children anyway. So we get them here instead of in Mexico or Africa. Big deal.

    President Bush never quite got it that these people aren't leaving private insurance for public funded healthcare...these are people who have NEVER had healthcare. Children are the future, and deserve a healthy start at it.

    February 4, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Virginia

    People, you need to read how they're going to pay for this and the concerns it will raise. If you think that it will only affect people who smoke, then you better think again. Look at how many Billions it's going to cost. Write your Congressman and/or Congresswoman immediately....

    February 4, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Ian

    Isn't that robbery to take from one group and give to another?

    February 4, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Terry

    This is good ....as long as we did not include the illegal population of this country. I'm Hispanic ....I have no problem saying this...the race card doesn't apply here....this is taxpayers money.

    Everybody needs to think like taxpayers.

    February 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Matthew Truth

    Thats what we need. More spending. More entitlement programs. I am sorry but we can not pay for everyone. The parents who had these kids need to be responsible.

    Everyone should be forced into a work program that is receiving welfare. They can tear down buildings in bad neighborhoods or put to work on crews. They should have to work 8 hour days/40 hour weeks. Make it 10.00 and hour and go to it. No more free lunch.

    Companies receiving federal funding have new rules. So should the individuals that receive welfare, medicaid, etc...

    February 4, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Locke

    Hey, where are all you right wing "socialism"-fighting conservatives? Trying to provide adequate healthcare support for America's chlidren is just another democratic ploy, another hand out, right guys? I mean, isn't this exactly the kind of wasteful expansion of government that you eagle-eyed watchdogs of the American Way figtht (I won't bring up the irony of the Bush administration here)? Where are you?

    February 4, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. worriedmom

    I hope this is for "legal" residents and not apply to illegal.

    February 4, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Thomas, Illinois

    The Republicans taketh way...The Dems giveth back...

    February 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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