Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Baucus Seeks $50 Billion in New SCHIP Funds

By Mary Agnes Carey, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

March 6, 2007 – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Tuesday he will seek $50 billion in new funding over the next five years as part of reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

"We have to find a way to pay for it and we will," Baucus said, but offered no specifics during remarks at an SCHIP forum sponsored by the journal Health Affairs. He did say that cuts to Medicare Advantage payments were "certainly one of the items that is on the table."

Baucus has made SCHIP reauthorization the Finance panel's top health priority for the year and said Congress must act before the program's authorization and funding expire Sept. 30. Other Democrats, including Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., have said $50 billion is needed in new SCHIP funds over the next five years to help cover children eligible for the program. President Bush has proposed a far smaller expansion, seeking $30 billion over five years.

Baucus said he was confident the Finance panel could move an SCHIP package with broad bipartisan support, adding, "we have to do it fairly soon." He also said he is working with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., to include SCHIP funding in the fiscal 2008 budget resolution. "There are lots of ways the budget resolution can be written. I would like to see it written in a way that protects SCHIP as strongly as possible," Baucus said.

House Budget Committee Chairman John M. Spratt Jr. of South Carolina has said his fiscal 2008 budget blueprint will not call for cuts in Medicare or Medicaid, two areas health care providers fear will face cuts to finance an SCHIP expansion.

Separately, House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., has said the fiscal 2007 supplemental spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will include at least $750 million for children's health insurance to cover shortfalls in 14 states. Baucus said while the supplemental is an appropriate vehicle for SCHIP shortfall funding, "nothing's definite yet."

Separately Tuesday, GOP Reps. Joe L. Barton of Texas and Nathan Deal of Georgia proposed legislation to address fiscal 2007 SCHIP funding shortfalls.

Their bill would limit the funds to coverage of low-income children and pregnant women who live below 200 percent of the poverty level, with eligibility based on gross income only. Their measure also would require states with funding shortfalls to use their own funds to expand SCHIP to additional populations.

"Shortfall states will have to stop using their rules to hide people's income and pretend that they make less than they really do," Barton and Deal noted in a news release.

Publication Details