Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Governors Seek Protection for State Children's Health Insurance Program

From the New York Times (2/25/07):

As the National Governors Association began its winter meeting, 13 governors expressed alarm on Saturday that they were about to run out of federal money for a popular program that provides health insurance to children.

They appealed to Congress and the Bush administration for swift action to protect hundreds of thousands of children who could lose benefits. The full association is poised to endorse that appeal.

In a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress, the 13 governors said that “health insurance for some of our states’ most vulnerable citizens is in jeopardy.” . . .

The program in question, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, covers more than six million children in families that have too much income to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance.

Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, a Democrat, noted that “many states have expanded, or have proposals to expand, eligibility” for the child health program. “The president’s budget is problematic in that regard,” Ms. Napolitano said.

In his budget this month, President Bush proposed reducing federal payments to the states for coverage of children with family incomes exceeding twice the poverty level. By contrast, Ms. Napolitano is trying to expand eligibility by raising the income limit in Arizona to 300 percent of the poverty level, from 200 percent.

In New York, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, wants to increase the limit to 400 percent, from 250 percent. (A family of four is considered poor if its annual income is less than $20,650.)

Congress is conducting a comprehensive review of the program, which was created in 1997 with bipartisan support and is up for renewal. By most accounts, the program has been effective, reducing the number of uninsured children by about 25 percent, to 8.3 million in 2005.

The 13 governors said their states needed immediate short-term assistance and could not wait for Congress to revamp the program.

Read Governors Worry Over Money for Child Health Program.

Shouldn't a President who values a "culture of life" be committed to improving the lives of existing children whose parents can't afford adequate health care?  See related post: Pro-Life-After-Birth.


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