Berkley Votes to Expand Healthcare Coverage for America's Children
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today voted again for passage of H.R. 2, The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Bill. The bipartisan bill, approved 290 to 135, renews and improves coverage for 23,000 Nevada children now covered under the state's SCHIP program known as Nevada Check Up. The package also extends coverage to an additional 4 million children nationwide -- including more than 37,000 in Nevada -- and could slash the number of uninsured children in the Silver State by as much as 35%.
"Our legislation protects vital healthcare coverage for the more than 23,000 kids already enrolled at home in the state version of SCHIP, the Nevada Check Up program. Expanding SCHIP will also slash the number of uninsured kids in Las Vegas and nationwide and provide access to the medical and dental care these kids need to stay healthy," said Berkley. "That means as many as 37,000 additional Nevada children could be covered with healthcare as a result of our package. This expansion of Nevada Check Up will be welcome news for uninsured families worried about what happens -- and how they will pay the cost -- when a child gets sick or has a toothache and needs medical or dental care."
The plan saves money by reducing the need for emergency room visits by families without healthcare coverage.
"Preventive care saves money and this legislation is a wise investment in keeping America's kids healthy. Nevada will see a nearly 20% increase in its funding for SCHIP under this package and the $60 million it provides will allow the state to increase the number of families receiving healthcare coverage under this key program," said Berkley.
Highlights of SCHIP Expansion Package:
Ensures healthcare coverage for 11 million American children. The bill ensures that the roughly 7 million children who currently participate in SCHIP continue to receive coverage. It also extends coverage to 4.1 million uninsured children, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Provides resources for states to reach uninsured children who are today eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid but not yet enrolled. This bill gives states the resources and incentives to reach and cover millions of uninsured children who are eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid.
Ensures illegal immigrants do not receive coverage under SCHIP. The bill includes a provision explicitly reaffirming that nothing in the act allows for payments for individuals who are not legal residents. In addition, under current law, there is no citizenship documentation requirement for SCHIP. The bill requires, for the first time, that SCHIP programs comply with the citizenship and identity documentation requirements in Medicaid.
Gives states the option of ensuring certain legal immigrant children and pregnant women can access health coverage without delay. The bill gives states the option of covering legal immigrant children and pregnant women who have been here less than five years under SCHIP and Medicaid.