Congress Reauthorizes Children's Health Insurance

The House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) yesterday, a move that, if sustained, would extend coverage to an additional 4.1 million children nationwide. The bill, which passed by a vote of 289 to 139, secures federal funds for Mississippi's State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through the 2013 fiscal year. Democratic Mississippi Reps. Bennie Thompson, Gene Taylor and Travis Childers voted in favor of the reauthorization, while Republican Rep. Gregg Harper opposed it. Childers released the following statement after the bill's passage:

Congressman Childers Votes to Provide Health Care for 11 Million Children

Washington, DC – Congressman Travis Childers (D-MS) voted today to provide health care coverage for 11 million children from hard working families nationwide. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act, which won bipartisan approval by a vote of 289-139, both renews and extends State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage through FY 2013.

"As unemployment continues to rise, more and more hard working families are losing their health insurance and are struggling to afford health care coverage for their children," said Congressman Childers. "Because of today's bipartisan legislation, thousands of children in Mississippi will receive the coverage they need."

"My family and I have been in the health care industry for years, and I understand the importance of coverage, especially for our children. Covering more eligible children is not only the right thing to do – it makes good economic sense for taxpayers who will not foot the bill for more costly problems down the road. In addition, a healthy child is better prepared for learning and success.

"I am proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle today in making sure our children are able to get the medical care they deserve.

"I am also pleased that today's legislation is fully paid-for, once again indicating that leadership is listening to calls for responsible spending from me and my colleagues in the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition."

The bipartisan bill both renews and improves SCHIP, preserving coverage for the 7.1 million children currently covered by the program, including 81,565 children in Mississippi, and extending coverage to 4.1 million uninsured children who are eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid.

According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 133,000 children in Mississippi were uninsured between 2006 and 2007.

During the 110th Congress, the President twice vetoed SCHIP reauthorization despite bipartisan passage in both the House and Senate. As a result of the President's vetoes, Congress was only able to provide a short-term extension of SCHIP through March 2009, but was not able to enact program improvements to help states reach additional uninsured children.

Without today's reauthorization, Mississippi would have no federal SCHIP funds after April 1, 2009 when the program would expire, and the state's projected funding shortfalls for FY 2009 would total $19 million. However, because of today's SCHIP renewal and extension, Mississippi will be able to both continue covering children already enrolled in the program, and extend coverage to additional low-income children who are currently uninsured.

Previous Comments


And why did Gregg Harper vote against this? Keeping children from being insured isn't good ol' Mississippi values to me.

golden eagle

if gov. barbour wants to issue pardons why don't he give to the ones who deserve it. like non-violent crimes and that since then they have led a productive life held a job and have stayed out of trouble. instead of giving rapists and murderes a break in life . give it to tax paying citizens who have really earned this right.


Mr. Harper should have to answer for his vote against funding the CHIP program. What's with these folks whose families have used all kinds of assistance; yet, when it comes to helping others, the "subsidy" becomes "welfare." Thank you Thompson, Taylor and Childers!



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