Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Conference Set To Adopt Senate Version of SCHIP

The Senate passed it's version of SCHIP reauthorization with a veto proof majority. The House version passed on a vote close to party lines. CQ Politics.com is reporting that in the face of a threatened veto the conference committee is poised to approve a bill resembling the Senate version.

CQPolitics reports

Negotiations are continuing as House Democrats, having conceded on spending and Medicare issues, press Senate leaders to accept policy that some Senate Republicans don’t like.

Child advocates, lobbyists and Senate aides said last week that House and Senate Democratic leaders have tentatively agreed to a compromise renewal of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that would expand spending by about $35 billion over the next five years, to $60 billion — matching spending in the Senate version (HR 976).

A tobacco tax increase would pay for the expansion, including a 61-cent increase in the cigarette tax, to $1 per pack — another element of the Senate bill. And the compromise bill would not include a House-passed cut to Medicare Advantage, a program in which insurers provide health benefits to seniors in place of the government, or other Medicare provisions from the House version (HR 3162).
Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y blamed Nancy Pelosi for the compromise. “I’m very unhappy. It’s not even a compromise. It’s their way or the highway.”

Charlie, on this one I have to agree with Nancy. She can count. You need a lot of Republicans to achieve a veto proof majority. The Senate bill does that. The House bill not so much. Wait until a Democrat is in the White House before you tackle the truly needed repeal of the corporate welfare program known as Medicare advantage. Right now we need to make sure 10,000,000 kids have health care.

Here are links to H.R. 976 and H.R. 3162. Don't be fooled either by the name of the Senate bill or the fact that the Senate bill was originally sponsored by Charlie Rangel. Back in early August the orignal bill was hijacked by the Senate to be used as a vehicle for the Senate's version of SCHIP.