Veto-Prone SCHIP Passes

1 decade 8 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, November 03 2007 Nov 3, 2007 Saturday, November 03, 2007 1:47:23 PM CDT November 03, 2007 in News

Congress needs a two-thirds majority to keep President Bush from vetoing a bill that would renew funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, for a second time.

In the meantime, however, advocacy groups are dealing with insurance cuts while they wait for action in Washington.

When Missouri cut its Medicaid program in 2005, thousands of Missourians were dropped off the health insurance rolls. Today, Missouri's rate of uninsured ranks among the nation's highest, and advocacy groups say that many are not able to afford coverage.

"I know that anything can happen at any time," said Isaiah Taylor, one of Missouri's uninsured. "Even a simple sickness could require a trip to the emergency room."

Advocates fear that more will lose coverage as local employers drop employee insurance in an effort to cut costs, and say that SCHIP offers a health care solution to parents who cannot afford private insurance.

"I think it says if you can afford it, you get great health care. If you can't, it's a roll of a dice. If you have a sick child that's a pretty scary thought." said SCHIP advocate Jane Whitesides.

The President says the program is too expensive and opposes the plan to raise tobacco taxes to pay its $35 billion price tag.

The Senate passed the measure Thursday 64-30. The bill is two votes shy of the full majority needed to over-ride a presidential veto.

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