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GOP Health Reform

April 27, 2007 | Daily News

As the clock winds down for the dozen or more states facing SCHIP funding shortfalls -- and money to close the gap riding on the unlikely approval of the Iraq and Afghanistan war supplemental -- a trio of influential senators have set their sights forward on a bold plan to reauthorize and expand the program by doubling the amount of covered children in 10 years. To do this, the senators say they will tap expanded cigarette taxes and overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans.

April 26, 2007 | Daily News

Sens. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) launched an effort this week to cover the nation's uninsured by using a few states as laboratories from which to conduct a broad spectrum of experimental reforms, including the adoption of state-based health savings accounts -- popular among conservatives -- and expansions of SCHIP and Medicaid programs, favored by liberals. The senators say the bill will de-politicize a highly charged partisan issue by letting evidence, not rhetoric, lead the debate.

April 25, 2007 | Daily News

Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) has indicated that future war supplemental bills will remain the vehicle for an SCHIP shortfall fix if the White House follows through on its pledge to veto the initial version of the bill next week over issues unrelated to the children's health insurance language.

April 20, 2007 | Daily News

House and Senate leaders will meet Monday (April 23) to hash out differences surrounding their emergency 2007 spending bills -- including approximately $750 million to plug SCHIP deficits this year -- but observers are already looking further ahead, as a promised presidential veto leaves in question how Democrats will move the legislation before states are forced to dip into Medicaid or cut kids' coverage.

April 18, 2007 | Daily News

Now that Democrats in both chambers have passed budget plans with language allowing up to $50 billion to reauthorize SCHIP, the next sticking point in the debate seems destined to revolve around who exactly should be covered under the popular program, which will sunset at the end of September without legislative action.

April 03, 2007 | Daily News

Strapped for cash to cover Medicaid-eligible children, state officials in Kentucky told managed care plans to "back off" enrollment outreach for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a plan official said, highlighting the difficulties that state governments around the country face as the rolls of children for both programs grow and state matching dollars wane.

During a meeting of America's Health Insurance Plans in Washington late last month, a Kentucky managed care plan official pleaded with a United States senator for advice about the outreach decree.

April 02, 2007 | Daily News

The Senate last Thursday (March 29) passed an emergency 2007 spending bill that supplies $747 million to patch federal SCHIP deficits projected to hit 14 states this fiscal year. The $122 billion bill next requires negotiations with House lawmakers, who passed their own emergency supplemental bill earlier in the month, including $750 million for State Children's Health Insurance Programs.

March 30, 2007 | Daily News

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), chairman of the Ways & Means health subcommittee, reintroduced legislation Thursday (March 29) to provide comprehensive health care to all U.S. residents through a Medicare-administered program that would include coverage for prescription drugs and mental health services, as well as expanded benefits for children, pregnant women and low income patients.

March 29, 2007 | Daily News

Wisconsin lawmakers and consumer advocates are protesting CMS' plan to turn the state's popular SeniorCare program -- the only remaining state demonstration receiving federal matching funds to cover prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries -- into a benefit that wraps around Part D. SeniorCare supporters say the current program is cheaper than Part D, and Wisconsin could not afford to offer similar coverage under a wrap-around model.

March 26, 2007 | Daily News

Revised Census Bureau figures, reissued last week after officials discovered a glitch in the operating system, show about 40,000 more children are covered by health insurance than previously estimated, while overall the number of uninsured kids continues to rise. The figures could bolster recent administration attempts to downplay the rising number of uninsured children as lawmakers debate whether to expand the popular state-based Children Health Insurance Program.

March 19, 2007 | Daily News

House lawmakers are pressuring HHS and Louisiana officials to resume negotiations on how to restructure the state's health care system following problems resulting from Hurricane Katrina. Talks stalled earlier this year after HHS asked the state to use existing disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funds to subsidize health coverage for the uninsured.

March 15, 2007 | Daily News

Georgia state lawmakers this week announced their intention to borrow state Medicaid funds to cover approximately $131 million in SCHIP shortfalls projected to hit the program in the near future.

March 14, 2007 | Daily News

Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) vowed Wednesday (March 14) to identify and pursue reforms that would put the country on a path toward universal coverage even before the 2008 presidential elections. Finance lawmakers mulled some ideas for immediate reforms at the first of a series of hearings aimed at framing the universal coverage debate.

Ranking Republican Charles Grassley (IA) noted that health reforms would be difficult -- but possible -- to pass during the campaign season. "We have enough on the table" to move forward now, he said.

March 14, 2007 | Daily News

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), chair of the powerful Energy & Commerce Committee, Wednesday introduced a much-anticipated bill that would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and could significantly expand the covered population by offering states the options to cover older children, children in less-impoverished families, legal immigrants and pregnant women.

March 06, 2007 | Daily News

Pressure is mounting on CMS to overturn its stance that infants born to low-income undocumented immigrants must be denied Medicaid coverage until proof-of-citizenship is approved: On Monday (March 5)Washington state sued HHS in federal district court over the requirement, just days after Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced a bill that would guarantee all such children are covered.

The Finance Committee's top Republican said it is simply "common sense" that a child born in the United States is an American citizen and no additional documentation is needed.