The Senate rejected two proposed amendments to the SCHIP reauthorization legislation yesterday, thwarting GOP efforts to keep children of legal immigrants off of public health insurance. Rather than the 5-year waiting period under the current law, the amendment would have required states to have 95% of eligible children enrolled – a nearly impossible task – before children of newly arrived legal immigrants would be allowed into the program. The Senate also rejected an amendment which would have required families above 200% FPL ($42,400 for a family of four) enrolled in SCHIP to pay a fee of up to 5% of their income. SCHIP is set to expire on March 31.
To read more about the SCHIP debate, check out the article in today’s Washington Post: “GOP amendment falls short on health bill”
The House is also expected to vote today on the $825 billion economic stimulus bill which would bring $127 billion in relief for health care over the next two years. This bill would allow workers on unemployment and their families to temporarily become eligible for Medicaid and would create a subsidy to help laid-off workers keep existing coverage under the state’s high-priced COBRA program. Under the House bill, the federal share of state Medicaid spending, or FMAP, would be increased by 4.9 percentage points, with additional increases for states with large increases in unemployment. The Senate is expected to vote on a similar measure next week.
To read more about the health care provisions in the federal economic stimulus bill, check out the article in today’s New York Times: “Relief seen for jobless and states in health care plan”