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Senate Votes to Extend Health Coverage Plan for Poor Families

By Kathleen Hunter, CQ Staff

June 27, 2007 -- The Senate on Wednesday passed a three-month extension of a program that prevents the sudden loss of health coverage for poor families as their incomes increase.

The bill (S 1701), passed by voice vote, would extend until Sept. 30 the Temporary Medical Assistance program. A Senate aide said the House is likely to follow suit before the July Fourth recess.

The program, set to expire June 30, is designed to ease the transition from welfare to work by allowing families to continue their Medicaid coverage for up to four months as their income levels rise above the normal qualification ceilings.

The idea is to plug a potential hole in health care coverage that families could face as they start earning more money.

An estimated 2 million Americans rely on the program for health coverage.

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