Updates on NIH, SCHIP Legislation

October 31, 2007

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The Senate recently voted 75-19 to approve a 2.9-percent increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for fiscal year 2008 as part of its Labor/HHS Appropriations bill. The AAN has been advocating for an increase in NIH funding: the House of Representatives passed a 1.9 percent increase this summer. President Bush has proposed a 5-percent cut in NIH funding for FY 2008. All indications are that Congress will arrive at a funding bill that contains a boost for NIH support, and that the President will likely veto the bill. The prospects for an override are not yet clear.

Meanwhile, the House approved a slightly modified version of its State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill by a 265-142 margin. The bill maintains a coverage target of 10 million children, and was revised to address critics’ concerns that the earlier version, which was vetoed by President Bush, did not do enough to prevent enrollment by undocumented immigrants, and to ensure that low-income children would be covered first. The legislation still faces an uphill battle: the House vote remained seven members shy of being able to overcome a presidential veto, which is likely to occur again. The bill will next be considered by the Senate.

For more information on these and other federal legislative issues, contact Mike Amery at mamery@aan.com.