24 Days: Dole votes against children's health insurance

DAY 24

A new report out this week revealed that North Carolina’s children are losing health insurance at a faster rate than any other state in the nation. As the senior U.S. senator from North Carolina, you’d think Elizabeth Dole would care. But instead she voted against extending and expanding SCHIP six times in just one year. In 2006, nearly 250,000 North Carolina children depended on this program, but Dole’s six votes the following year denied coverage to millions of children who were without adequate health insurance, including 123,000 in North Carolina. She said there should be an alternative, yet took her sweet time -- nine months -- to propose one. Dole’s refusal to sign on to this bipartisan legislation contributed to the gridlock in Washington that has made life more difficult for hardworking North Carolina families who must now struggle just to keep their children healthy.

Over 248,000 North Carolina Kids Covered Under SCHIP In 2006.
In 2006, 248,366 kids were covered under the SCHIP portion of the Health Choice program. Even with SCHIP, the number of children in North Carolina who went without health insurance in 2007 was 271,000. The legislation that Dole voted against would have provided coverage for roughly 123,000 more children. [Families USA, 5/07; Families USA Report, 9/07; CRS and CMS data]

2007: Dole Voted Against SCHIP Extension and Expansion A Total Of Six Times. In 2007, Dole voted against bi-partisan legislation 6 times to extend SCHIP funding and expand it by $35 billion over five years. The bill contained funding to provide coverage for an additional 3.2 million kids while including $100 million in funding to improve participation in the program. To offset the expansion, the legislation would have increased the tax on cigarettes by 61 cents to $1 per pack and raised taxes on other tobacco products. The bill would have provided coverage to pregnant women and dental coverage to children enrolled in the program. States would have to meet new requirements before being allowed to expand eligibility beyond 300 percent of poverty. [Vote 403, 11/1/07; Vote 402, 11/1/07; Vote 401, 10/31/07; Vote 353, 9/27/07; Vote 352, 9/27/07; Vote 307, 8/2/07; Financial Times.com, 8/2/07; DPC, 7/31/07]

Instead Of Proposing Alternative, Dole Called On Congress To “Come Back With An Acceptable Bill.” After voting against expanding and extending SCHIP twice, Dole said, “I hope Congress can go back to the drawing boards and come back with an acceptable bill.” [Vote 352, 9/27/07; Vote 307, 8/2/07; Raleigh News and Observer, 9/28/07]

April 2008: Nearly Nine Months After Voting Against SCHIP Expansion 6 Times, Dole Proposed Alternative. In April 2008, nearly nine months after first voting against the bipartisan SCHIP expansion package, Dole finally proposed a measure that would have provided an alternate means for funding the SCHIP program. [Vote 307, 8/2/07; Associated Press, 4/27/08; Dole Press Release, 4/30/08]

---Disclosure: I am Kay Hagan's Online Communications Director---