Political Analyst, Advocates Comment on Effect of SCHIP Legislation, President’s Veto on Hispanic Children
A political analyst and advocates for Hispanics recently weighed in on the SCHIP legislation vetoed by President Bush on Wednesday that would have reauthorized and expanded the program, Cox/Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (Moscoso, Cox/ Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/4). SCHIP provides health coverage to about six million children currently.
The legislation would have brought total SCHIP enrollment to 10 million children by providing an additional $35 billion in funding over the next five years. The additional funding would have been paid for by a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the tobacco tax. The program expired on Sunday (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 10/3).
Of children who would have been newly eligible for SCHIP under the bill, at least one-third likely would have been Hispanic, Edwin Park, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said. About 40% of Hispanic children already receive health coverage through SCHIP or Medicaid, though many eligible Hispanic children are not enrolled, according to Park. He added, "Every day, there's going to be more uninsured kids in this country, and because Latino children in particular are much more likely to be uninsured, they will be disproportionately affected."
The National Alliance for Hispanic Health had praised the legislation, saying it would have insured more than one million Hispanic children, Cox/Star-Telegram reports.
However, other advocates contend that the veto would not have that great of an effect on Hispanic children because lawmakers included a provision that would have banned documented immigrant children who have been in the U.S. for less than five years from participating in the program. "While this bill would have extended coverage to Latino children, Congress cannot say with conviction that they removed all the barriers for Latino children, as they chose to leave a significant part of the population behind," Jennifer Ngandu, a senior health policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza, said (Cox/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/4).