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Congress Poised to Add Millions of Uninsured Children to Successful, Bipartisan Health Plan
Date:9/12/2007

House and Senate Push Ahead on Reconciling Separate Bills, Despite the Cloud of a Presidential Veto Threat and New Administration Roadblocks

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. House and Senate leaders are meeting this month to work out differences between their separate versions of legislation that reauthorizes the 10-year-old State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). A new report from Families USA spells out how many additional children would be covered in each state under the House and Senate bills.

Originally approved by a Republican Congress and signed by a Democratic president, the new approved bill is expected to add between $35 and $50 billion over five years to provide health coverage for as many as five million of the nation's estimated 9 million uninsured children.

This additional funding would lead to a substantial reduction in the number of uninsured children. As currently approved, the Senate bill would cut the nation's rolls of uninsured children -- estimated at more than nine million -- by about four million, a 44 percent drop. The House version, with a higher proposed funding level, would reduce the number of uninsured children by about five million, or 55 percent.

Federal legislators face a number of challenges in their efforts to renew and enhance SCHIP, including trying to meet the Sept. 30 expiration of the original program. A far greater challenge, however, has been posed by President Bush, who has repeatedly stated his intention to veto the new bill and whose Administration this month issued new guidelines that undercut the original flexibility given to states to implement the program.

"With the renewal of SCHIP, we have an opportunity to build on one of the greatest legislative success stories in recent years," Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA said today. "Leaders of both parties in Congress recognize the importance of making sure our children have access to qual
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SOURCE Families USA
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