Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Following the vote, Congressman Brett Guthrie (Bowling Green) made this statement:
"I regret that this partisan legislation to reauthorize a valuable program was rushed through the legislative process. SCHIP has significantly decreased the number of uninsured children throughout the country. However, this reauthorization does not find a long term solution to continue meeting this goal.
"This legislation provides coverage to millions of families who can already afford private health insurance. The focus of SCHIP should remain on making sure uninsured children are enrolled first, not those who can afford it.
"Most importantly, this bill places a burdensome tax increase on Kentucky's middle and lower classes - the very people it was created to help. Kentucky families making less than $50,000 a year will contribute 200% more in excise taxes than those families making more than $50,000. It is simply unfair to create this kind of tax burden on the families SCHIP is intended to assist.
"This bill will also force states like Kentucky to bear more of the burden of paying for SCHIP programs in other states, like California, New York, and Texas. Kentuckians will pay $607 million more in taxes than it will receive in SCHIP funding. Meanwhile, California will receive $2.5 billion more in funding than it pays in taxes.
"Children's healthcare should be a bipartisan issue. I am committed to supporting SCHIP in a responsible way that keeps the focus on benefitting low-income families. Regrettably, today's bill was not one I could support because Kentucky's families would lose."