Senate Reauthorizes State Children’s Health Insurance Program; Covers Legal Immigrant Children

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate reauthorized the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), expanding coverage to include an additional four million uninsured children.

SCHIP provides health insurance for low-income children from families who are not covered by private insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. It currently helps states provide over seven million children with health insurance.

The bill will also provide coverage to immigrant children and pregnant women. Current legislation bars legal immigrants from receiving aid until they have resided in America for five years. Several Republican senators offered amendments to limit the availability of SCHIP funding for legal immigrants, but the amendments did not pass.

“Those kids come from low-income families with parents that work hard and pay taxes just like citizens,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D. Mont. “And, those kids need checkups and prescriptions just like all other [SCHIP] kids.”