Fox's Garrett falsely claimed CBO determined that revised SCHIP bill "would cover fewer children"

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

In reporting on the House's vote to pass a revised bill expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Fox News' Major Garrett asserted, "Congress' own accounting office said the new SCHIP bill would cover fewer children and at greater cost than the original bill." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office said that the revised bill would cover as many children in SCHIP and Medicaid as the original bill would have covered.

During the October 25 edition of Fox News' Special Report With Brit Hume, Fox News congressional correspondent Major Garrett reported on the House's vote (265-142) to pass a revised bill expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and asserted, "Congress' own accounting office said the new SCHIP bill would cover fewer children and at greater cost than the original bill." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that the revised bill would cover as many children in SCHIP and Medicaid as the original bill would have covered. The CBO estimated that the revised House bill would enroll 7.4 million children in SCHIP and 26.7 million children in Medicaid for an estimated total enrollment of 34.1 million children. CBO estimated in September that the bill vetoed by President Bush would have enrolled 7.8 million children in SCHIP and 26.3 million in Medicaid, for an estimated total enrollment of 34.1 million children. Bush has threatened to veto the revised House bill.

Garrett's false assertion echoes a misleading White House Statement of Administration Policy that claims the revised bill "would enroll 400,000 fewer in SCHIP in 2012 than were enrolled through" the earlier bill, but fails to note that the revised bill would enroll 400,000 more children in Medicaid than would have been enrolled through the earlier bill.

In contrast with Garrett's assertion, an October 26 Washington Post article on the bill passed by the House reported that a CBO analysis "showed that the new version of the children's health insurance bill did make some substantive changes that Republicans had demanded. Under both versions, the combined average monthly enrollment in SCHIP and Medicaid would be about 34.1 million people, according to the CBO. But there is a shift toward serving poorer children, a key Republican demand. In the new bill, Medicaid enrollment alone would be about 400,000 individuals higher than under the vetoed bill, while SCHIP enrollment would be about that much lower, according to CBO documents. Almost half of the 3.9 million uninsured children projected to gain coverage under the revised bill would be covered under Medicaid, of whom about 80 percent live below the poverty level, said Genevieve Kenney, an Urban Institute health economist."

From the October 25 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

BRIT HUME (anchor): The House has passed a revised bill on health insurance for poor children, although not by a sufficient margin to override the veto that President Bush has again promised. The final tally came after heated objections not only to the substance of the bill, but to the timing of the vote. Congressional correspondent Major Garrett explains.

[begin video clip]

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) (House Speaker): Once again, a strong bipartisan majority will speak up for America's children.

GARRETT: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi teed up debate on a slightly revised bipartisan bill expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP. But first, she had to quell a GOP uprising over scheduling the vote while many California lawmakers were tending to fire-ravaged constituents.

REP. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): We've got a million people displaced, more people displaced in the country today than anytime since the Civil War.

GARRETT: So Republicans gummed up the works with meaningless procedural votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask for a recorded vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Speaker, I request the yeas and nays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I ask for a recorded vote.

GARRETT: The GOP hijinks burned more than three hours off the clock, as members smoldered over Pelosi's decision to rush the new SCHIP bill to the floor in the face of the wildfires, and in defiance of her own promise to give members 24 hours to read bills before a vote.

BLUNT: This is a bill that doesn't even have a single House sponsor. It's 293 pages. If it's such a great bill, why not let the members read it?

GARRETT: Pelosi said the House could not wait to act, even though the Children's Health Insurance Program is funded through mid-November. Pelosi said that despite his near constant focus on the wildfires, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger asked about the SCHIP bill's future this week.

PELOSI: One-point-two million children in California will benefit from this SCHIP bill that we are passing in the Congress today. The governor understands that, he's been a strong supporter of it, and he is helping us to pass this legislation.

GARRETT: President Bush vowed to veto the revamped Children's Insurance Bill, sure to lengthen a standoff that began when the House sustained his veto of the first SCHIP bill.

MICHAEL LEAVITT (Health and Human Services secretary): The bill that is currently considered being considered by the Congress essentially floods this program with money, and then would blow the doors off eligibility.

GARRETT: Congress' own accounting office said the new SCHIP bill would cover fewer children and at greater cost than the original bill. Democrats said Republicans will eventually regret their intransigence.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY): At the end of the line, the question is going to be, did you vote for health care for 10 million children, and did you vote to support the $35 billion that's necessary to do it?

GARRETT: The Bush administration said it considers this new bill a budget-buster.

LEAVITT: This bill clearly has as much as $15 to $18 billion more than is necessary to carry out a policy that cares for poor children.

[end video clip]

GARRETT: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring this bill to the Senate floor next week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday, adding another chapter to the Groundhog Day quality of the SCHIP debate, and putting off negotiations, it appears, Brit, between the White House, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans.

HUME: That on a bill that the president could sign, you mean?

GARRETT: Indeed.

HUME: All right, Major, thank you.

Posted In
Health Care, Children's Health
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Major Garrett
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
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