Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Breaking News: Tentative Agreement About State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

Received from social policy arm of Catholic Charities USA:

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Washington Weekly Special Edition
July 10, 2007

Breaking Health News

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has reached a tentative agreement on a framework for reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), according to today’s issue of Congressional Quarterly.

The bipartisan agreement would expand funding for SCHIP to an additional $35 billion over five years. This falls significantly short of the $50 billion increase sought by Democratic congressional leaders and included in the congressional budget resolution. Reports are that the expansion would be paid for by a 61-cent increase in the current federal tobacco tax, bringing it to a $1 tax per pack.

While the compromise might have the support of most of the Finance Committee, it is likely to be politically difficult for other members on both sides of the aisle to support.

Look for more detailed information from Catholic Charities USA in Washington Weekly on Friday. Also, to read the article from Congressional Quarterly, click here.

To read more about Catholic Charities USA’s positions on SCHIP, please click here. To read our issue brief on the plight of the 9 million uninsured children in our country, click here.

More News on Medicaid

According to today’s Congressional Quarterly, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to clear a three-month extension of a program that allows families to continue receiving Medicaid temporarily as they transition from welfare to work. The Senate had passed by voice vote on June 27 its bill (S.1701) to extend the Temporary Medical Assistance (TMA) program until Sept. 30. The program, which expired June 30, is designed to ease the transition from welfare to work by allowing families to continue their Medicaid coverage for up to twelve months as their income levels rise above the normal allowable ceilings.

The bill also would keep alive through Sept. 30 a $50 million grant program for abstinence education that House Democrats have sought to terminate. A leadership aide said before the July 4th recess that Democrats instead “will address permanent reforms in the abstinence program” when the House renews the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For more information, please contact Desmond Brown, Director of Health and Welfare Policy, at, or Karen Wong, Legislative Policy and Research Analyst, at

Washington Weekly is a publication of the Social Policy Department of Catholic Charities USA and is published regularly when Congress is in session.
Catholic Charities USA
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