My Vote on the Reauthorization of SCHIP

Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.  This is a federally funded program that provides health care to children.  While I believe that this is a good program and I support initiatives to bring health care to children who need it, I could not support this reauthorization.

To begin with, SCHIP is already funded through March 31, 2009.  Reauthorizing it now, and it this extremely fast pace, is unnecessary.  In addition, applicants are not required to present proof of their identity, other than a verbal presentation of their Social Security number.  This weakens the standards to determine which children are eligible and opens the program up to abuse and fraud.

Finally, under the reauthorization, the expansion of SCHIP will be funded by an increased tax on tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars.  However, the use of tobacco products has dramatically dropped in the last few years and studies show that another increase in price will cause that number to drop even further.  This means that in order to fully fund SCHIP for the next ten years this country would need 22.4 million new smokers.  If that is not accomplished, then an additional tax will most likely be levied on the American taxpayer. 

I also fear this bill is an example of a problem that is becoming more commonplace in the 111th Congress.  Rather than allow for committee consideration and debate, Speaker Pelosi crammed this bill across the floor of the House of Representatives and barred all amendments.  SCHIP is a good program that has been subjected to bad policy.  It is unfortunate that the Speaker chose to pass this important bill in this manner instead of allowing a real discussion that would ensure SCHIP is a successful and financially viable program.  I hope that the legislative procedure for future bills, especially of this magnitude, will be slowed so that everyone may be involved in the process.

Recent Posts

Jul 18, 2024

Congressman Lucas Welcomes New Field Representative to District Staff

Yukon, OK – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) today announced an addition to his District Office staff following the hiring of Nathan Dethloff as a Field Representative. Originally from Lone Grove, Oklahoma, Nathan graduated in May of 2022 from Oklahoma State University. Most recently, in May of 2024, he earned a Master of Science in Agricultural […]

Jul 10, 2024

Lucas and Chair Powell Agree: Bank Regulators Should Re-propose Basel

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Lucas and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell discussed the need for a re-proposal of Basel Endgame and plans to address inflation. On a Basel Re-proposal: Lucas: “You have reiterated how Members of the Board would like to see a revised Basel proposal put out for public comment, but you’re working […]

Jul 9, 2024

Secretary Yellen Defers on Basel, Supports Changes to Increase Liquidity in U.S. Treasury Market

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Lucas followed up with Secretary Yellen on the impact of the Basel Endgame proposal and also potential reforms to increase participation in U.S. Treasury markets. Highlighted Quotes: Lucas: “During our discussion when you were last before the Committee, you largely deferred to the Fed, FDIC, and OCC on the details […]