SourceWatch:Project:Record on SCHIP
SCHIP — The State Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers more than 6 million U.S. kids from families whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but who are considered too poor to afford health insurance — has been all over the news this summer and fall as Congress debated the renewal and expansion of the program. President Bush has already vetoed the first bill approved by Democrats (supported by many Republicans), and the House has now held two unsuccessful votes to override that veto, including one on a new version of the bill. Democratic leaders are now debating how to proceed.
The stakes — billions of dollars and insurance for millions of children — have rarely been higher, and citizens need to know how their representatives voted, regardless of whether they think the bill was a march toward socialized health care or a lifeline for poor children. You can help by taking five minutes to record the votes of your representative in their Congresspedia "permanent record," which are read by tens of thousands of people. The Congresspedia staff has written concise summaries of the votes and simple instructions for recording the votes in your member's profile. The instructions are below and if you need help, just email Congresspedia Managing Editor Conor Kenny at . Thanks and good luck!
- First, you'll need to log in to edit (this prevents vandalism and spam). Click on the "Log in" link at the top-right corner of your browser window. If you haven't registered with SourceWatch, all you need is an email address (it won't go on any mailing lists) and it just takes a minute. Click here to register and then come back.
- Now you'll need to find your representative's profile. If you already know who your representative is, you can find them listed on the Congresspedia state portal for your state, which you can select from the map here. Or, if you don't know your representative, click here to find out who it is.
- Note: It's best to right-click that link and others on this page (or for Mac users, open-apple-click the link) to open them in a new window. This allows you to easily refer back to these instructions.
- Next, look to see if someone else has added information already about SCHIP. Look for anything under the heading of "Health Care" or "SCHIP" or anything like that. Someone may have filled information in earlier but not have included the recent vote, so look for a last paragraph that starts "In January 2008, House Democrats again put the bill up for a vote...".
- What did you find on your representative's page? Pick one of the three options below:
- It already had information on all the SCHIP votes, including the January vote. Great, that means you have other concerned citizens in your district! This is a good thing. If you're still feeling motivated, go try out the participatory project on votes on immigration reform. Thanks!
- It had no information on any of the SCHIP votes. You'll need to enter all the information in (don't worry, it's easy). Proceed to step 5.
- It had information on the earlier SCHIP votes, but not on the January vote. This means you only have to add the information for the January vote. Open an editing window by clicking nearest "" link above the SCHIP vote descriptions and then skip ahead straight to step 8.
- Before you can enter information in you'll need to find out where they stood on the first four votes. In order, here are the lists of the first, second, third and fourth. Find your representative on these lists and write down how they voted. "Abstain" generally means they were absent for the vote. (You might want to open these links in new windows.)
- Now go back to your representative's page and find the "Record and controversies" section heading (it's near the top, under the table of contents) and click the "" link next to it.
- Highlight, copy and paste in the following paragraphs, making sure to substitute the name of your representative where it says "INSERT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE'S NAME HERE" and inserting "for", "against" or "abstain" according to the votes you found, in order:
In 2007, Congress took up the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health care for about 6 million children and 670,000 adults from families who earn too much money qualify for Medicare but not enough to afford health insurance. Congressional Democrats and many Republicans tried to use the opportunity to dramatically expand the program but were opposed by President George W. Bush and other Republicans. In 2006, 5.4 million children were eligible but not enrolled in SCHIP or Medicaid and 9.4 million total children were uninsured.
INSERT REPRESENTATIVE'S NAME HERE voted (FOR/AGAINST/ABSTAIN) the first House bill, which passed along party lines. It would have added $47 billion over five years to the $25 billion cost of the program and added about 5 million people to the program, including children, some legal immigrants, pregnant women and adults aged 18 and 19. The bill was financed mainly by an increase in cigarette taxes.
House Democrats, with 45 Republicans, later compromised and passed a bill which expanded the plan by $35 billion and would have insured about 3.5 million more children from families generally making between 250% and 300% of the federal poverty line (about $51,000 to $62,000 for a family of four). Most non-pregnant, childless adults were excluded, as were most legal immigrants and all illegal immigrants. INSERT YOUR REPRENSENTATIVE'S NAME HERE voted (FOR/AGAINST/ABSTAIN) the bill.
After President Bush vetoed the bill, Democratic leaders attempted to override the veto with the same bill but failed. INSERT YOUR REPRENSENTATIVE'S NAME HERE voted (FOR/AGAINST/ABSTAIN) the bill. House Democrats then attempted to circumvent the veto with another bill, which gave into Republican demands for increased checks for citizenship, the quick phasing-out of adult coverage, a hard limit of 300% of the federal poverty level and funding for families that covered their children through private insurance instead. Republicans, angry that the vote was scheduled during massive fires in California, attempted to block the vote. On October 25, INSERT YOUR REPRENSENTATIVE'S NAME HERE voted (FOR/AGAINST/ABSTAIN) the bill. For details on the bills and the debate, see the main [[State Children's Health Insurance Program|State Children's Health Insurance Program page]].
- In December, Bush again vetoed the legislation. For the final January vote, find out where representative stood by checking this list. Then, copy and paste the block of text below the other SCHIP descriptions, making sure to insert their name and select "for", "against" or "abstain" depending on how they voted:
In January 2008, House Democrats again put the bill up for a vote but again failed to get the votes to override Bush's veto. INSERT YOUR REPRENSENTATIVE'S NAME HERE voted (FOR/AGAINST) the bill. For details on the bills and the debate, see the main [[State Children's Health Insurance Program|State Children's Health Insurance Program page]].
That's it! Make sure to hit the "save page" below the editing window and write a few words about what you did in the "Summary" box above that button (in this case something like "adding health care record will do"). Again, if you have any questions, just email Congresspedia Managing Editor Conor Kenny at . If you'd like to enter other information on your representative's voting record, visit the main Congresspedia Voting Record Resource Center for other sets of instructions. Thank you!