Washington, D.C. –Today, a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to provide health care to 11 million children across the Nation. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization (SCHIP) Act of 2009 passed with a vote of 290 to 135.
After the vote, President Obama signed the legislation into law.
“I applaud President Obama for making this among the top priorities to sign into law,” stated Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva. “Our children, families, and communities have been needing this health assurance.”
This bill reauthorizes SCHIP for four and a half years, through FY 2013. It provides for a $32.8 billion expansion of the program over the same time period, increasing the total pending to roughly $57.8 billion.
It will preserve the coverage for all 7.1 million children currently covered by SCHIP and extends health care coverage to 4.1 million additional low-income children, who are currently uninsured. The reauthorization will help cover the 104,209 children enrolled in Arizona’s KidsCare and extend coverage to an additional 99,900Arizona children that are currently uninsured but eligible for the program. The bill offsets the new spending, primarily by raising cigarette taxes by 62 cents per pack.
“We can no longer allow so many children to go without access to basic, necessary health care,” said Grijalva. “By improving the health for these children, we are helping to build an important block for success. This legislation insures that high-quality health care for America’s children is an affordable goal.”
SCHIP was created in 1997 to provide health care coverage for children in families that earn too little to afford health insurance for their children themselves but too much to qualify for Medicaid. In addition, the bill ensures that a healthy child is better prepared for learning and success.
Former President Bush vetoed the legislation twice in the 110th Congress.