On his 16th day in office, President Obama signed a bill expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $32 billion, providing coverage to an additional 4 million children in families who have incomes too high to receive Medicaid but who cannot afford to buy health insurance.
“This is truly a moment to celebrate,” said Clare J. Chapman, CEO of the National Council of Churches, who witnessed the White House signing ceremony. The NCC is among a number of religious groups that have supported expansion of SCHIP and similar measures.
The House voted 289-139 in favor of the bill January 14 and signed off on minor changes by the Senate February 4 on a vote of 290-135. The president signed the measure into law later in the day.
“This is only the first step,” Obama said. “As I see it, providing coverage for 11 million children is a down payment on my commitment to cover every single American.”