Advocates Push for Renewal of Kids’ Insurance Program
Children's health advocates in San Luis Obispo County on Tuesday asked Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) to help lobby the federal government to renew and increase funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
About 4,500 children in San Luis Obispo County are insured through SCHIP, known as Healthy Families in California. Statewide, the program provides health coverage to about 770,000 children at a cost of about $7 billion annually. The state pays 40% of the total amount (Arnquist, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4/11).
President Bush has proposed to increase funds for SCHIP by $4.8 billion over five years. In addition, Bush has proposed to reduce federal funds for states that have expanded SCHIP eligibility to children in families with annual incomes more than 200% of the federal poverty level to "refocus the program on low-income uninsured children."
At least 17 states would lose federal funds as a result of the proposal (California Healthline, 4/5).
Capps told county children's health advocates that she supports a proposal backed by Democratic lawmakers that would increase funds for SCHIP by $50 billion over five years.
Kena Burke, executive director of the local Children's Health Initiative, joined fellow advocates in asking Capps to secure $50 billion to $60 billion for the program.
The advocates also seek to expand the program and eliminate a rule that requires legal immigrants to wait five years to qualify for coverage. Undocumented immigrants are barred from federal health programs in most circumstances (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4/11).