Now I swear to all the gods that I fully intended to write something on SCHIP today because I knew it was up for a vote. But I have been a buys, busy blogger these past couple of days and now I find that Nick Lampson’s press staff have done all the work for me today. So like yesterday I am pasting his press release below. Why reinvent the wheel? I have added links as appropriate.
LAMPSON: WE MUST NOT DENY HEALTH CARE FOR MILLIONS OF CHILDREN AND ELDERLY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Nick Lampson (D-Stafford) today voted for landmark legislation to provide America's seniors and children with timely and affordable access to quality medical care. H.R. 3162, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 ("CHAMP" Act), passed in the House by 225 to 204. This legislation provides critical protections to seniors receiving Medicare benefits, reauthorizes the State Children's Health Insurance Program ("SCHIP") which expires on September 30, and halts cuts to physician reimbursement that would reduce access to health care for millions of Americans. Six million children, including 585,500 in Texas, have health care benefits under the SCHIP program, which helps the children of working families that either cannot afford insurance or have jobs that lack health benefits. The CHAMP Act will now provide health coverage to an estimated five million additional children who are currently uninsured but eligible for SCHIP, including 998,000 in Texas.
Congressman Lampson stated, "I am proud to have voted for the CHAMP Act. This is a vote of conscience, a victory for our nation's families, their children and our seniors. Additionally, this legislation also saves taxpayers from picking up the tab for indigent care at emergency rooms - the most expensive way to care for a child's health. It costs less than $3.50 a day, about the cost of a Starbucks coffee, to cover a child through SCHIP."
The bill protects Medicare from privatization and promotes fiscal responsibility by phasing out, over four years, overpayments to private insurance companies, saving taxpayers billions of dollars. Private insurance companies are paid on average 12 percent more than traditional Medicare - and overpayments to certain plans exceed 50 percent. The CHAMP Act ensures that seniors and people with disabilities can continue to see doctors of their choice by stopping a 10 percent payment cut to doctors in January 2008, and a 5 percent cut in January 2009. Additionally, the bill includes a $3 billion rural package that sustains rural health care, and extends for two years important add-on payments for hospitals, doctors, and other rural providers who care for Medicare beneficiaries. The CHAMP Act will reduce long-term health costs by focusing on preventive check-ups, tests, screenings, and vaccines to reduce long-term health complications and costs.
CHAMP Act Highlights:
-Provides health care to 11 million children - 5 million who currently lack health insurance and 6 million who are currently covered by SCHIP.
- Extends solvency of Medicare Trust Fund and protects seniors from premium increases.
- Ensures patient access to doctors of their choice.
- Encourages seniors to seek preventive services.
- Ensures seniors' access to rural health care.