Two-year SCHIP fight over with Obama’s signature

After a nearly two-year ordeal that divided Democrats and Republicans and involved two presidential vetoes, President Obama signed a bill on Wednesday to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

 SCHIP provides health insurance coverage to about 7 million children. This expanded bill will extend coverage to an additional 4 million children.

The WSJ Health Blog reports that doctor-owned hospitals were winners in the bill and big tobacco was a loser.

The bill will increase the national tobacco tax by 60 cents to about $1 per pack to fund the $33 billion expansion. This will please the tobacco control folks, who say the best way to reduce smoking is by increasing the price of cigarettes through taxes. It does mean, however, the expansion is funded through a declining revenue source.

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4 replies »

  1. Though I do like the idea of using cigarette taxes to fund health care, I do think it’s quite ironic. It’s a way to lessen the number of people smoking (or how much they smoke) but still it’s quite unstable of a money source.

  2. This is one of those wins that makes you feel good, mostly. Children without proper healthcare is a sad story these days. And it feels kind of good too that out of bad can come good (with the funding coming from tobacco) but it would be nice to have a plan as to how to move forward without it.

  3. Ugh. I wanted to know why Stark caved on the physician-owned hospitals issue?
    Granted it is early but the research that is coming out is that these hospitals neither provide better outcomes or cheaper care than their traditional counterparts. Just yet another example of physician self-referral to businesses they own a direct piece in creates big issues.

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