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American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Government Affairs News & Materials

Congress Scheduled to Undertake SCHIP Reauthorization

July 2nd, 2007

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was developed ten years ago and is set to expire this coming September. SCHIP currently provides affordable healthcare coverage for about 6 million children and 600,000 adults. The upcoming deadline has prompted action by Congress and several proposals have been introduced to ensure continuance of the SCHIP programs as well as expansion.

While there are several differences between the proposals, such as amount of money to be allotted to SCHIP programs, all proposals are expected to push SCHIP towards extraordinary growth. The Senate hopes to devote $50 billion over five years for SCHIP reauthorization and expansion, raised partly through tobacco taxes, and to cover all children who are eligible. The Senate Finance Committee is expected to send legislation to the Senate floor later this summer. The House is expected to introduce its own SCHIP legislation after the July 4 recess.

There will be considerable debate in each chamber about what programs within SCHIP should be expanded, contracted, or created as legislation moves forward. One such debatable new provision would be to include language that would require states to include dental coverage for any SCHIP benefit package. Currently, SCHIP dental coverage is voluntary for states. The dental community sees the SCHIP reauthorization as an opportunity to seek a guaranteed dental benefit within the Program. Please join the AAOMS grassroots campaign by asking your Senators to support a guaranteed dental benefit within SCHIP.