What: All Issues : Health Care : Access to Health Insurance : S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Chambliss of Georgia amendment limiting the availability of funding for certain states for the State Childrens Health Insurance Program/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 112)
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Chambliss of Georgia amendment limiting the availability of funding for certain states for the State Childrens Health Insurance Program/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 112     Mar 23, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote occurred on an amendment by Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, that would have had the effect of limiting the availability of State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funding for certain states. The federal SCHIP program -- funded primarily through taxes on tobacco products -- helps low income families with children afford health insurance, and currently covers about 6 million kids. Specifically, his amendment would have limited the availability of SCHIP funds to states that allow coverage under the program for adults with very low incomes.

Chambliss said currently there are 12 states that include very poor adults who aren't pregnant in their SCHIP program coverage. He said that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that eliminating coverage for those adults would save $900 million over 10 years. "This is a program for children, not adults," Chambliss said.

The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

During earlier consideration of the bill, John Cornyn, R-Texas, offered an amendment that would have restricted coverage for very poor adults, as well as restricting coverage for states whose income threshold for families to qualify for SCHIP is higher than most other states. It was rejected 59-38.

More broadly, small government Republicans have repeatedly sought to place more limits on the SCHIP program, believing that it is on the verge of becoming another federal health care entitlement program, such as Social Security or Medicare.

Democrats have countered that Congress should be spending its time finding ways to cover more people, not less.

"The long and short of it is, this does restrict SCHIP benefits. I urge us not to go in the direction of restricting SCHIP coverage. I want to actually go in the other direction and expand. I urge that we not adopt this amendment," said Max Baucus, D-Mont.

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 44-55. All Democrats opposed the amendment. All but five Republicans voted for it. Thus, the budget resolution went forward without language that would have restricted states from covering very poor adults under their SCHIP program.

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