October 18,2007

Baucus: Push For Children’s Health Care Will Continue

Finance Chairman vows to win robust renewal of Children’s Health Insurance Program after unsuccessful House vote to override President’s veto of bill for uninsured kids

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said today that he will redouble his efforts to renew and improve the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides health coverage to uninsured children whose parents do not qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford private insurance. A vote in the House of Representatives did not override President Bush’s veto of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to preserve health coverage for 6.6 million American children in the program, and to provide health coverage to nearly four million more. Baucus commended the House’s strong effort today, and said that efforts to help more children through CHIP must continue.

“This fight is so far from over, the fat lady isn’t even warming up. A vote this close puts  supporters of this bill, and all the kids it would help, in a very strong position. What was true before the House vote is true now: CHIP is about nothing more and nothing less than getting low-income, uninsured kids the doctor’s visits and medicines they need to stay healthy. So there’s no time to sit back in the saddle. We have to roll up our sleeves, keep our eye on the ball, and get a final CHIP bill that delivers for working families. Anyone who’s really ready to put kids before politics is welcome at the table.”

The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Baucus was the lead sponsor of the $35 billion agreement that ultimately passed the Senate by a veto-proof vote of 67-29, and passed the House 260-159. In a Wednesday press conference prior to the House vote, Baucus criticized opponents of the legislation for circulating misinformation about the bill. Baucus and the co-authors of the bill – Finance Ranking Republican Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), HealthSubcommittee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), and Subcommittee Ranking Republican Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) – sent a letter to every member of the House debunking untruths and inaccuracies. The text of the Senators’ letter is available on the Finance Committee website.

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