WASHINGTON — Oklahoma would get three times as much money for children's health insurance if Congress ultimately approves $50 billion conditionally promised in the Democratic budget for the national program, according to a study released Monday.

Families USA, a nonprofit group lobbying for health care coverage for the uninsured, says Oklahoma would get about $141 million more per year for a total of about $212 million to cover low-income children if the Democratic plan is approved.

According to the study, the state has 146,000 children with no health insurance.

State Medicaid officials said Monday that as many as 42,000 more low-income children in Oklahoma could be eligible for health insurance coverage if federal funding is hiked for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said the additional funding "will enable these children to receive needed care that will protect their health and enable them to learn and develop into productive Americans.”

About two-thirds of the uninsured children in Oklahoma already qualify for the State's Children Health Insurance Program, which covers children whose family incomes exceed 185 percent of the poverty level, but they are not enrolled.

Similarly, nationwide, many of the children who are eligible for the program are not enrolled. Studies have suggested that some states have erected bureaucratic barriers to enrollment or have not provided enough public information about the availability of the SCHIP program.

Pending House legislation would allow states to cover children whose family incomes are up to four times the poverty level. That bill also would require more money for outreach and education programs to ensure families know about the insurance.

The insurance program is set to expire in September and must be reauthorized by Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday he wants to take up legislation this month to reauthorize the program.

"It's not going to happen,” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said Monday.

Coburn said that level of expansion would never get out of the Senate Finance Committee and that it shouldn't.

"Expanding SCHIP is just ‘Hillary Care Part Two,'” Coburn said.

Echoing the comments of many critics of the program, Coburn said a large percentage of the children enrolled had private health care coverage before entering the Medicaid program. Parents often enroll their children in SCHIP, he said, to reduce the costs of their own coverage.

Coburn said he favors the approach put forward in his own health care reform bill — providing a $5,000 tax credit to families to buy insurance

Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, said, "I support reauthorization of SCHIP because it provides health coverage for many children in eastern Oklahoma who would otherwise be uninsured. Increasing funding for this program is essential, but Congress needs to look at a variety of funding options to act responsibly with taxpayer dollars and to provide a long-term, sustainable source of funding.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, wants to see it reauthorized, press secretary Carmen Terry said.

However, Terry said, "The level at which it is funded needs to be looked at very critically. The Democrats continue to try and increase spending on this and every other spending bill, which — under their rules — will force a tax increase.”

She said Cole would not support spending increases that result in higher taxes.