CQ's Carey Discusses SCHIP Debate

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State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Mary Agnes Carey, associate editor of CQ HealthBeat, discusses the debate surrounding SCHIP reauthorization and expansion, President Bush's appointment of an acting CMS administrator and House approval of legislation that would overhaul the U.S. patent system in this week's "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ."

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Careysays there are "many differences" between the House and Senate versionsof SCHIP legislation that must be reconciled before the program expiresSept. 30, including the scope of an expansion and provisions in theHouse bill that would make changes to Medicare. Senate Republicans have blocked the appointment of House and Senate conferees to negotiate a compromisebill, saying they want to ensure it will more closely resemble theSenate measure than the House legislation. House Democrats have saidthey will begin informal negotiations with Senate Democrats ifRepublicans continue to block the conference, according to Carey. Bothsides could approve a short-term extension of the program, but thatcould delay action on other issues, such as preventing a scheduled 10%cut in Medicare physician payments, Carey says.

In addition, Carey discusses Kerry Weems, who was appointed acting CMS administrator last week while his nomination continues through the Senate process. A spokesperson for the Senate Finance Committee,which has jurisdiction over the nomination, said the committee had beeninformed of the appointment and is expected to continue with thenomination process, according to Carey.

Carey also says theHouse has approved legislation that would overhaul the system forawarding patents and awarding damages for patent infringement.According to Carey, supporters of the legislation say "this yearrepresents their best chance to end a multiyear logjam that has pittedthe biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries against technologyfirms." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he will try tobring patent legislation to the Senate floor this fall, andnegotiations are ongoing to resolve differences between the twoversions (Carey, "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ," 9/10).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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