The House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday that will expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program with a 289 to 139 vote. The current bill is similar to legislation that had been vetoed by President Bush twice, according to the New York Times.
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provides health insurance to children from low-income families who cannot afford private healthcare but do not qualify for federal Medicaid. The program currently provides health insurance for more than 7 million children, passage of the current legislation would expand the program to cover 4 million more children.
If the bill passes the Senate, President-elect Obama plans to sign the legislation. Obama commented in a statement: “In this moment of crisis, ensuring that every child in America has access to affordable health care is not just good economic policy, but a moral obligation we hold as parents and citizens. That is why I’m so pleased that Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives came together to provide health insurance to over ten million children whose families have been hurt most by this downturn. This coverage is critical, it is fully paid for, and I hope that the Senate acts with the same sense of urgency so that it can be one of the first measures I sign into law when I am President.”