Thursday, September 20, 2007

Help Us, Jim Marshall, You're Our Only Hope

During the last legislative session, I was so proud when Marshall addressed the General Assembly and told them that he was confident that Congress would certainly reauthorize the SCHIP program and would likely even expand it. Now, we need Congressman Marshall to vote "yes" to reauthorize the program and side with working families in Georgia. I don't know how he plans to vote, but he needs to hear from Georgians.

This is important, critical, really. It's time to act. Please call or email Congressman Jim Marshall and ask him to vote 'yes' to expand and reauthorize SCHIP. The vote in the House is likely to be on Tuesday. Marshall's is a key swing vote on this issue. He was one of only ten Democrats to vote 'no' on an earlier version of the bill. We need his vote, not just to pass this critical legislation, but to send a message to Bush that a veto is unacceptable.

This is his email address, and he needs to hear from all of us: jim.marshall@mail.house.gov

Here's what I know, courtesy of First Focus:

...An agreement on a framework for SCHIP re-authorization has been reached by the House and the Senate leadership. Congress intends to send a bill to the President before the program's September 30th expiration date. While the details of the agreement have not been released, we understand that the bill will closely resemble the $35 billion Senate-passed bill, S. 1893, which includes a 61-cent tobacco tax and covers approximately 4 million new uninsured children. As expected, the Medicare provisions that were part of the House-passed CHAMP Act (H.R. 3162) will be stripped from the bill to be taken up in a separate measure later this fall. While the agreement tracks more closely with the Senate bill, we understand that key provisions from the House bill are part of the agreement, e.g. the agreement includes the House funding formula with a cap and the House dental benefit. While negotiations are ongoing and staff did not offer any sort of comprehensive review of the agreement that has been reached, in answering a very limited number of questions from advocates we learned that some of the provisions in the current agreement include the following:
§ Address in some manner the August 17th CMS letter;
§ Includes some “blended” provision on citizenship documentation requirements;
§ Includes some “conceptual agreement” on Express Lane Eligibility;
§ Includes some form of mental health parity;
§ Tracks the Senate bill on parent coverage and pregnant women.

We expect that details will continue to trickle out but that we won’t see the final agreement until early next week.

Timing

The House leadership says the bill will be taken up by the House Rules Committee on Monday, followed by a House floor vote on Tuesday. The bill will then be taken up by the Senate. To be sent to the White House by the end of the week.

Get Dialing!!

No comments: