The Act was approved by a vote of 225-204.
“The program, serves as a crucial health care safety net for low-income uninsured children,” said Rep. Grijalva. “No child throughout our nation should ever go without medical care. Providing Children’s Health Insurance ensures a stronger and healthier community and future for all of us.”
Children’s Health Insurance was established on a bipartisan basis in 1997, but must be reauthorized by September 30, 2007. If the program is not reauthorized,
6 million children nationwide will lose their health care.
This legislation ensures that the children currently in the program retain their insurance, and provides incentives to states to enroll additional eligible children. The majority of uninsured children are currently eligible for coverage through CHIP or Medicaid – but better outreach and adequate funding is needed to identify and enroll them. This legislation would provide health care coverage to five million uninsured children who are eligible for but not currently enrolled in CHIP—bringing the total of insured children to 11 million.
Today’s investment in children’s health includes provisions to strengthen Medicare, control out of pocket costs and help ensure seniors have access to the doctors of their choice by stopping a scheduled 10 percent payment cut to doctors. Additionally, the legislation makes a series of preventative screenings free for Medicare beneficiaries. New free Medicare benefits provided under the CHAMP Act include:
- diabetes screening tests
- screening for glaucoma
- an initial preventive physical examination
- bone mass measurement
- prostate cancer screening tests
- colorectal cancer screening tests
- mammography screening
- pap smear screening
Claims have been made that Children’s Health Insurance will occur at the expense of our seniors, these claims are both unfounded and untrue. In order to provide health insurance to our children, this legislation corrects Medicare Advantage overpayments and updates the tobacco tax, which has not been done in 10 years. This correction of Medicare Advantage does not cut Medicare; rather, it phases out the overpayment to private plans, which burden traditional Medicare recipients with additional payments per month and shorten the lifespan of the Medicare Trust Fund by two years.
“This legislation does the right thing, it shows that insuring America’s children is an affordable goal. It costs less than $3.50 a day, about the cost of a Starbucks Frappuccino, to provide this children’s health insurance,” stated Grijalva.