U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted to overcome the President’s misguided veto of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act, legislation that would provide health care coverage to more than 10 million low-income children. The vote to override the President required a two-thirds majority and failed by a vote of 273 to 156.
“The President’s veto and the protection afforded it by House Republicans harmed Washington state in particular. Had the bill become law, Washington state would have been able to keep and use its full federal allocation for SCHIP to cover our children,” Smith said.
SCHIP was created in 1997 to help families get medical care when they made too much money to get Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance. The bill vetoed by the President would have provided states resources needed for outreach to enroll additional families that are currently eligible for the program.
The bill reflected a compromise between the House and the Senate and had broad bipartisan support. It included language to allow Washington state to keep and use its full federal allocation for SCHIP. When SCHIP was first implemented, Washington state already covered SCHIP-eligible children under our state’s Medicaid program and could not use the full federal allotment given to many other states. This bill would have allowed Washington state to keep and utilize these needed funds to ensure children get health coverage.