Senate Democrats

Bush-Lott-McConnell Amendment Seeks to Dismantle Bi-Partisan Children’s Health Insurance Bill

Today, Senators Mitch McConnell and Trent Lott offered an amendment to the bi-partisan Senate Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization bill. In short, the amendment would provide coverage for far fewer new children while jeopardizing the coverage of hundreds of thousands of children. Below are highlights of why the GOP leadership’s amendment would put kids’ health insurance coverage at risk.

  • The GOP Leadership Amendment Provides Coverage for Millions Less Children than the Bi-Partisan Senate Bill. The GOP leadership’s amendment only provides $9.5 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program over five years and lowers the federal matching rate for children above 200 percent of the Federal poverty line now covered by the program. Accordingly, the amendment would effectively leave behind the 3.2 million newly uninsured children who would be covered under the bi-partisan Senate bill.  [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Lott-McConnell SCHIP Proposal Would Fail to Make Progress in Covering Uninsured Children] 
  • The GOP Leadership Amendment Threatens Coverage for Hundreds of Thousands of Children.  The GOP leadership amendment would result in funding shortfalls in one-third of states by 2012.  In addition, because the GOP leadership’s amendment lowers the Federal matching rate to children in families with gross income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level to the Medicaid matching rate, the amendment would jeopardize coverage for hundreds of thousands of children who would be at risk of losing their health insurance. [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Lott-McConnell SCHIP Proposal Would Fail to Make Progress in Covering Uninsured Children]  
  • The GOP Leadership Amendment Would Eliminate Key Consumer Protections. The GOP leadership’s amendment includes provisions that would drastically change the health insurance market.  For example, the amendment would preempt state regulation of health insurance, leaving insurance companies free to offer health policies that exclude basic benefits, such as routine screenings, immunizations and emergency services. The amendment also allows insurers to discriminate against small businesses and to charge workers who are older, sicker, or of child-bearing age, drastically higher premiums. [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Lott-McConnell SCHIP Proposal Would Fail to Make Progress in Covering Uninsured Children]  
  • The GOP Leadership Amendment Fails to Provide Adequate Outreach to Families in Hard to Reach Areas. The GOP leadership’s amendment fails to provide states with the tools and financial support that they need to reach the families of the six million, low-income uninsured children, who already are eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid, but may be unaware of the program. And while the amendment does establish an outreach initiative, it does not provide states with the funds they need to actually reach these children.  [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Lott-McConnell SCHIP Proposal Would Fail to Make Progress in Covering Uninsured Children] 
  • The GOP Leadership Amendment Eliminates Coverage for Parents, Which Was Put in Place at the Bush Administration’s Urging.  The GOP leadership’s amendment would immediately eliminate enhanced CHIP funding for existing family-based coverage waivers that were actively encouraged and approved by the Bush Administration.  By doing so, the amendment would unfairly harm states that acted in good faith when they negotiated these waivers with the Bush Administration and jeopardize the much-needed coverage for low-income parents. As a result, because covering parents is a proven strategy for increasing coverage for children, this aspect of the amendment would also result in a loss of coverage for children. [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Lott-McConnell SCHIP Proposal Would Fail to Make Progress in Covering Uninsured Children]
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