On two separate occasions during the past few months, President Bush has vetoed proposed extensions to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (“SCHIP”) and it remains to be seen whether the current legislation, due to expire in 2009, will be extended while President Bush remains in office. SCHIP was originally enacted in 1997 to provide healthcare to children who do not have insurance because their families cannot afford private insurance and who live in a household with an income above the qualifying income for Medicaid. It was due to expire at end of September 2007, but at the end of last year a bill was passed that extended government funding of SCHIP at the current level until 2009.
President Bush’s primary objection, and reason for his veto, is that the proposals would increase government funding of SCHIP by $35 billion over a five-year period. After his most recent veto, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a January vote to override the President’s veto. The Democrats, however, failed to garner enough support to obtain the requisite two-thirds vote in the House to override the veto.
We will continue to monitor developments about SCHIP and related issues on InsureReinsure.com.