If the SCHIP sinks, we all go down….

Just heard a very sobering report from staffers in Congress about the reauthorization of children’s insurance this year. We will have a bigger report on it later, but the upshot is this:

The Senate is asking for an additional $35 billion over five years, and that’s pretty good. If passed, (and that’s a big IF) it would cover an additional 4 million kids.

The House, however, is trying to get $50 billion — which includes reimbursement for the state of medical care for legal immigrants, and avoids cuts in reimbursements to providers. (Passage of the House bill, however, is an even BIGGER if).

In spite of bipartisan support for children’s health insurance and expanding coverage for kids, President Bush is really digging in his heels and has announced his intention to veto these bills. (I mean, really, why doesn’t he pick on someone his own size.)

Even though this debate — nationally — is primarily about children’s insurance, in California, it will be a foundation for larger health reform. That’s because we Californians want to cover all children — and we won’t be able to do it without enough money. We’re already on very thin financial footing with the proposals on the table….and they’re not final until they’re final. We can’t afford to let this children’s money erode as well.

And the hip bone’s connected to the knee bone; the knee bone’s connected to the… You get the picture.

In a few days, we will have more detailed report on how advocates can get involved in lobbying their Congressional representatives to support health reform.

Stay tuned….

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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