Senate Set to Expand Child Healthcare

Ad Feedback  - Democrats in Congress are making progress with their plans to increase government-funded health care.

The Senate voted Thursday on the bill which would expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $31.5 billion.

Democrats say the money would provide new coverage to 4 million uninsured kids, and help an additional 2.4 million kids who would otherwise use private coverage.

Republicans tried to offer a scaled-back version of the bill, but Democrats struck down their efforts.

"I think we could have had 95 votes," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah said. "That would have sent a tremendous, tremendous message that hasn't been sent around here for a long time."

GOP leaders are upset that the legislation, this year, gives states the option to cover children of newly arrived legal immigrants through Medicaid or SCHIP.

Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan said he couldn't think of a higher priority for families than making sure their kids are healthy.

"What we ought to decide is that this is a priority for this country. It's a long-delayed priority," Dorgan said. "What ought to concern us now is that we move and move quickly."

SCHIP is a partnership funded by the federal government, but implemented by each state.

The House will take up this same bill next week.

Source: Associated Press

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