Thursday, 30 May 2024

House passes sweeping health care bill

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday the House of Representatives passed the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 (The CHAMP Act, HR 3162).

This historic legislation reauthorizes the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides health insurance coverage for millions of children in working families with incomes slightly too high to qualify for Medicaid.

The CHAMP Act also includes important Medicare provisions, which benefit providers and beneficiaries alike.

"Keeping kids healthy today means that the government will inherit a healthier Medicare population tomorrow," said Congressman Mike Thompson. "Investments in our children are both common sense and cost-effective."

The CHAMP Act maintains current SCHIP eligibility requirements, but it provides states with the resources needed for outreach to eligible children not yet enrolled in the program. As a result, five million new children will be able to obtain health care.

The bill also makes critical changes to the Medicare program. Without this legislation, physician reimbursement rates would be slashed by 10 percent next year, and by an additional 5 percent in 2009.

"This legislation will provide five million new kids with healthcare and millions of children already in the SCHIP program will keep their benefits," added Thompson. "With this legislation, physicians will avoid the biggest rate cut in the history of the Medicare program, which would have triggered a mass exodus of doctors from Medicare. Today, Congress took an historic step and dramatically improved healthcare for millions of Americans."

The CHAMP Act also expands preventive healthcare available to Medicare beneficiaries, and it provides critical new funding for rural healthcare.

"For many reasons, it's much harder for seniors in rural areas to access high-quality healthcare than it is for their urban counterparts," said Thompson. "This bill extends key bonus payments for rural providers, ensuring that doctors, ambulances, home health agencies and other providers will keep their doors open in rural communities like ours."

Thompson also noted that the CHAMP Act does not increase the deficit. Consistent with the Democratic Majority's commitment to Pay-As-You-Go rules, of which Thompson is a long-time advocate, the CHAMP Act is fully funded.


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