What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : HR 2. (Children’s health insurance) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would require the government to create a new program to provide private health insurance for certain children eligible for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program/On agreeing to the amendment
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HR 2. (Children’s health insurance) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would require the government to create a new program to provide private health insurance for certain children eligible for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 28     Jan 29, 2009
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would have required the Health and Human Services Department to create a new program to provide private health insurance for children eligible for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicaid, whose family incomes were under 300 percent of the poverty level.  The amendment was offered to a bill that expands and reauthorizes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which offers health insurance for children of families who are too poor to purchase private health insurance, but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

Coburn said his amendment is intended to ensure that children “don’t lose their private insurance,” and also to ensure that uninsured children can get access to private health insurance.  Republicans have often criticized expansions of programs like SCHIP, feeling that it will push people out of private health insurance plans in favor of government-run ones.

“Are we going to put the majority of American kids on a government-run program? If that is our goal, then we should totally reject this amendment. Or are we going to use an approach that ensures children in America have access to market-based insurance?”

Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Coburn’s amendment is far too restrictive and it should be opposed on those grounds.

“It makes it very difficult for kids in working poor families to get health insurance. Let’s not forget we are in difficult times. These are recession times. People do not have jobs. Health insurance is very expensive, extremely expensive in the private market. There is discrimination in the individual market. Insurance companies can discriminate against you. If you have a preexisting condition, they can say: no health insurance. If you have a history of medical care, they can say: Sorry, you have been sick too much; we are not going to cover you, and for other reasons,” Baucus said. 

By a vote of 36-62, the amendment was rejected.  All but five Republicans present voted for the amendment.  Every Democrat present voted against the amendment.  The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would have required the government to provide private health insurance for children eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid, whose family’s incomes were under 300 percent of the poverty level.

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