Date: October 1, 2007
Congress Passes H.R. 976, the Children's Health Insurance
Program Reauthorization Act of 2007
On September 25, 2007, the House amended the Senate-passed version of H.R. 976 and passed it by a vote of 265-159. The Senate agreed to the House-passed version and the bill will now be sent to the President. The bill would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and make changes in the Medicaid program. The President has indicated that he will veto the bill, saying it “goes too far toward federalizing health care and turns a program meant to help low-income children into one that covers children in some households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year.” (See Legislative Bulletins 110-5, 110-9 and 110-10 for provisions of interest to SSA contained in earlier SCHIP reauthorization bills.) Following are provisions of the final bill of interest to SSA:
Verification of Declaration of Citizenship or Nationality for Purposes of Eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP
• Would give States the option to verify an individual's declaration that he or she is a U.S. citizen or national for purposes of Medicaid or CHIP eligibility through electronic verification of the individual's name and Social Security number (SSN). Under the provision, a State could verify with the Social Security Administration (SSA) the name/SSN of an individual. In the case of an individual whose name or SSN is invalid according to SSA's records, the State would have to make a reasonable effort to identify and address the causes of the invalid match; after such reasonable efforts are made, the State would provide the individual with 90 days to cure the invalid determination with the Commissioner of Social Security, or to present paper documentation of citizenship (e.g., a U.S. passport or birth certificate combined with a prescribed, acceptable identity document). The State would disenroll the individual within 30 days after the end of the 90-day period if documentation is not provided or the invalid determination is not cured.
• Would provide that States may enter into an agreement with the Commissioner to allow States to electronically submit for verification each month the names and SSNs of each individual newly enrolled (but not dually enrolled in another income maintenance program) for that month: (1) through an on-line system or otherwise; (2) on a batch basis at least monthly; or, (3) through other methods agreed to by the State and Commissioner and approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, provided that such method is no more burdensome on the individual than the first two processes. This provision would be effective October 1, 2008.
Extension of SSI Web-Based Asset Demonstration Project to the Medicaid Program
• Would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use the current process that SSA uses in the Access to Information Held by Financial Institutions pilot project to be utilized for verification of assets for Medicaid eligibility of individuals not applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Extension to Medicaid would be limited to States in which the SSI demonstration project is operating. This provision would be effective October 1, 2012.
NOTE: As drafted, this provision expands a fully automated (“web-based”) request and response process that does not yet exist. The current SSI asset verification demonstration project involves a manual workload in addition to web-based transactions.
Support for Injured Service Members
• Would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to provide up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to employees who are caring for family members who have been injured or become ill in the line of active military service. Eligible employees could elect (or employers could require) that accrued paid leave be substituted for unpaid leave. Would be effective October 1, 2007.
Military Family Job Protection
• Would prohibit for up to 52 weeks, the firing, demotion or any adverse action against employees who are absent from work in order to care for family members who have been injured or become ill in the line of active military service. Would be effective October 1, 2007.