Rep. Adam Smith today joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in support of the final version of legislation to provide health care to 11 million children. The legislation is expected to reduce the number of uninsured children in Washington state by 42%. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act was approved by a vote of 290-135.
“The renewal of SCHIP is a significant win for Washington state. With unemployment rising, causing many to lose healthcare for their children and their families, this reauthorization is especially important,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “I was proud to support efforts to increase the number of insured children in our state which will reduce the costly use of emergency rooms for primary care, and move us closer to providing every child in our nation with affordable, high-quality health care.”
Further, Congressman Smith was particularly pleased to see that the significant gains for Washington state were included in the today’s final version. The legislation allows Washington state to use a larger portion of its federal allocation, above the 20% previously allowed, for SCHIP through FY 2013. When SCHIP was first implemented, Washington state already covered SCHIP-eligible children under our state’s Medicaid program. Because of this it is considered a ‘qualifying’ state and has not been allowed to transfer kids from Medicaid to SCHIP or use the full federal allotment for SCHIP on the Medicaid kids. The bill will also provide matching funds to assist with the state’s planned expansion to cover kids up to 300% of the federal poverty line.
The bill was passed by the House today and signed into law by President Obama this evening.