House, Senate Approve SCHIP Reauthorization Bills; Both Include Minority Health-Related Provisions
The House and Senate this week approved separate versions of legislation that would reauthorize SCHIP, the Helena Independent Record reports (Straub, Helena Independent Record, 8/3). SCHIP is set to expire on Sept. 30 (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/2).
The Senate on Thursday voted 68-31 to approve its SCHIP reauthorization bill (HR 3162). The bill would provide funds for Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment efforts on American Indian reservations, allow American Indians to use tribal documents as proof-of-citizenship for Medicaid and give states more federal funding for translation and interpretation services, according to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Baucus said that the bill also would require the government to monitor racial and ethnic health care disparities (Helena Independent Record, 8/3).
The House approved its version of the reauthorization on Wednesday. Under the bill, states would have the option to cover children of documented immigrants and establish their own methods of verifying citizenship (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/2). Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) said the bill also proposes improvements on end stage renal disease research and she has proposed a study on its impact on the black community.
Tubbs Jones said, "The [House] legislation provides both incentives and instructions to our national health care providers on addressing the critical and debilitating phenomenon of health care disparities in the minority community." She added, "For the first time, we identify, codify and target health care disparities with a goal toward eradicating these problems" (Tubbs Jones release, 8/1).