CQ's Carey Examines Attempt At SCHIP Veto Override

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State Children's Health Insurance Program

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Mary Agnes Carey, associate editor of CQ HealthBeat,discusses House Democrats' efforts to override President Bush's veto ofSCHIP expansion legislation, a House hearing about tobacco regulationand disability benefits for veterans in this week's "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ."

Accordingto Carey, House Democrats and advocates are trying to sway HouseRepublicans and Democrats who voted against legislation that would havereauthorized and expanded SCHIP to override Bush's vetoof the measure. An override vote is scheduled for Oct. 18. The SCHIPbill passed by a veto-proof majority in the Senate but not in theHouse. Carey says obtaining enough votes in the House to override theveto "will be a difficult task to achieve." A Senate Republicanproposal that would add about $14 billion to SCHIP over five years andrestrict coverage to low-income children younger than age 19 and topregnant women may prove to be a way to "break the logjam," Carey says.

Carey also discusses a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on legislation that would permit FDAto regulate tobacco, including flavorings and other additives used bycigarette manufacturers. According to Carey, proponents of the bill sayit is needed because tobacco use is the leading cause of preventabledeath in the U.S. and costs the nation $96 billion annually in healthcosts. However, several Republicans on the panel expressed concernsthat the bill would undermine FDA's public health mission and that thegovernment already has implemented efforts to reduce tobacco use.

In addition, Carey discusses recommendations by the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commissionto increase disability benefits by up to 25% until a new system is putin place to more adequately reflect the needs of veterans returningfrom the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The commission stated that notenough attention is being paid to such conditions as post-traumaticstress disorder and called for more frequent mental health examinationsand compensation for PTSD patients, as well as a reduction in thebacklog of disability claims, Carey says.

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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