What is SCHIP?
About this site

The SCHIP Information Center is a collection of resources on the future of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.

What is SCHIP?

The State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, was established by the federal government ten years ago to provide health insurance to children in families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

The Democratic leadership of Congress in 2007 proposed a massive expansion of SCHIP that would have extended federal health insurance coverage to children in families making as much as $82,600 per year, which ultimately would have made 71 percent of America's children eligible for federal health insurance assistance, a form of welfare.

The Congressional leadership proposed funding this dramatic expansion with an increase in the tobacco tax.  There was a practical problem with this: As the number of smokers dwindles, so would the funding for SCHIP.  In fact, the Heritage Foundation estimated that to pay for this proposed expansion, Congress would need to encourage 22 million more Americans to take up smoking by 2017. 

There was another problem with funding SCHIP with tobacco taxes: About half of all smokers earn less than 200 percent of the poverty line.  The Congressional leadership thus was advocating a plan to help lower income people by taxing the poor.

The Democratic Congressional leadership's legislation, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, known as H.R. 976 by the time it was sent to the President, was approved by the House and Senate.  The primary sponsor was Rep. Charles Rangell (D-NY).  It was vetoed by President George W. Bush on October 3, 2007.  A Congressional effort to override the veto failed by 13 votes (273-156, with 2/3rd approval required) 15 days later.

The House and Senate then (October 25 for the House, November 1 for the Senate) approved a similar measure, H.R. 3963.  Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) was primary sponsor.  President Bush vetoed this legislation on December 12.  Congress did not attempt an override.

On December 18, the Senate unanimously adopted S. 2499, sponsored by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), to continue SCHIP funding until March 31, 2009 without the expansion previously sought by the Democratic Congressional leadership.  The House adopted the bill on December 19, and it was signed into law by President Bush on December 29, 2007.

Throughout the subsequent debates over federal health care policy, this website has served as a convenient gateway to educational resources by conservative think-tanks, scholars and commentators about the future of SCHIP.  While the National Center for Public Policy Research cannot and does not endorse the content of external pages linked to on this site, it does encourage visitors here to take advantage of the wide variety of educational resources made available on the websites of the think-tanks to which we link.