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Senate Finance Finally Brings Forth Language

September 16, 2009

Earlier today, Chairman Baucus (D-MT) of the Senate Finance Committee has introduced his Chairman’s mark, or the language that the committee will use during mark-ups beginning September 22.  It has received luke-warm reception by Democrats, but the slimmed down-price tag still lacks any open Republican support.

The proposal carries good measures around the Children’s Health Insurance Program, including a federally set eligibility requirement of 250% of the federal poverty level, making sure that states maintain levels through 2012, and some protections for children in insurance Exchange programs in 2013, including EPSDT benefits for all children.  Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), while stating that he could not vote for the bill as it stands right now, is already suggesting amendments that are children-specific.  These include a similar amendment found in the House bill that would make sure children are not harmed by entering into the Exchange after CHIPRA sunsets in 2013, through guidance by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary.  Another of Rockefeller’s proposals would create a children-only insurance plan in the Exchanges.

Please stay-tuned for this very exciting time, as we move one step closer to national health reform!

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