SCHIP Is Passed!

obama-signs-billPresident Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (SCHIPRA 2009) into law Wednesday. The bill passed the Senate last week by a bipartisan vote of 66 to 32, and cleared the House by a bipartisan vote of 289-139. The legislation will expand the children’s health insurance program and enable health centers to improve and expand primary care services to children. It also creates a prospective payment system (PPS) for health centers in SCHIP similar to the payment system established by the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000 (BIPA).

Under the health center Medicaid PPS, the state Medicaid agency pays for the care at a health center on a prospective basis and then the state gets a federal match from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The creation of such a payment for SCHIP patients allows health centers to provide and expand primary care services to more SCHIP beneficiaries, while ensuring adequate financial stability for health centers. The bill also overturns a 5-year ban on eligibility for children who are legal immigrants, and it directs the HHS Secretary to develop a model process for interstate coordination of Medicaid/CHIP enrollment and coverage of eligible individuals, such as farmworkers and disaster evacuees, who move from state to state – a clear to those who have called for such action over the past several years.

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