Senate Passes Baucus-Rockefeller-Casey-Kennedy SCHIP Amendment

WASHINGTON, DC- Today, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment authored by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), John Rockefeller (D-WV), and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), and Bob Casey (D-PA) to affirm the Senate's commitment to reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The amendment passed by a voice vote.

"The Senate sent a strong message today that providing health care coverage to children is a top priority," said Senator Casey. "As we move forward with the SCHIP funding debate, the White House should take note that the Senate is on record supporting an expansion of children's health insurance, not the Bush efforts to undermine the program. I appreciate the opportunity to work on this important amendment with Senators Baucus, Rockefeller, and Kennedy -- three true champions of the effort to provide quality heath care to children."

The amendment states, in part, that reauthorizing SCHIP is the Senate's top health care priority and that expanding health care coverage to uninsured children is an urgent priority.

Through the leadership of Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), the Budget Resolution currently being considered by the Senate provides for $50 billion over five years for SCHIP and recognizes the need to maintain and expand coverage.

Senator Casey also voted against an amendment introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would jeopardize the expansion of Pennsylvania Children's Health Insurance Program and undermine the entire program. The Cornyn amendment failed 38-59.

The Cornyn amendment would have called for limiting the program to children in families below 200% of poverty. Pennsylvania recently expanded their program to cover children in families at up to 300% of poverty. The Cornyn amendment - taken from the Bush budget proposal - would increase costs to Pennsylvania by reducing the amount of money Pennsylvania would receive from the federal government.

Senator Baucus is the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Rockefeller is the Chairman of the Health Care Subcommittee of the Finance Committee, and Senator Kennedy is the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

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