Congressman Childers Votes for Final Passage of SCHIP

Washington, DC – Congressman Travis Childers (D-MS) today joined a
bipartisan majority of his colleagues in voting for final passage of the
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act, which
will be signed into law by the President this afternoon. The
legislation, which reauthorizes and extends the State Children’s Health
Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide health care coverage for 11 million
children nationwide, passed in the House by a vote of 290-135.

“Today marks a great triumph for all American children,” said
Congressman Travis Childers. “No child in the First District or anywhere
throughout our nation should ever go without medical care, and our
government has made an important commitment to ensuring that children
throughout this country receive the coverage they need and deserve.

“In the face of recession and job loss, hard working families across
North Mississippi are struggling to provide health insurance for their
children, and today’s legislative victory will help ease this burden.
This reauthorization greatly benefits Mississippi, nearly tripling the
state’s share of SCHIP funds, preserving coverage for the more than
81,000 children who are already enrolled, and extending coverage to
almost half of those who are currently uninsured.

“I commend the authors of the reauthorized program for using a more
accurate formula to ensure that funding goes to states like ours where
families need it the most, and including restrictions to prevent
wealthier states from abusing funds.”

The final version of this bill has even stronger provisions to restrict
states from misusing SCHIP funds. For instance:

* There will be no waivers issued to cover parents under the CHIP
program, and states that have received waivers to cover low-income
parents under CHIP will be able to transition these parents into a
separate block grant.

* The current law prohibition on waivers for coverage of childless
adults is retained. Childless adults who are currently covered will
transition off CHIP. For states that have received CHIP waivers to cover
childless adults, those waivers will be terminated after a one-year
period.

The Congressional Research Service reports that the reauthorization act
increases SCHIP funds for Mississippi from $64.1 million in FY2009 under
current law to $183.7 million in FY2009. According to Families USA,
119,000 children in Mississippi are currently uninsured. Of these
children, 55,000 – nearly half – will be able to receive coverage
through the reauthorization of SCHIP.

Without today’s reauthorization, Mississippi would have no federal SCHIP
funds after April 1, 2009 when the program would expire, and the state’s
projected funding shortfalls for FY 2009 would total $19 million.
However, because of today’s SCHIP renewal and extension, Mississippi
will be able to both continue covering children already enrolled in the
program, and extend coverage to additional low-income children who are
currently uninsured.

Rep. Travis Childers Press Release
2/4/9