California Approves Rules for Wait List for Kids’ Health Coverage
The board that administers California's version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program on Monday approved rules that will let the state create a wait list for enrollment and begin dropping children's coverage through the program, the Sacramento Bee reports (News low in story).
The Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board voted unanimously to approve the changes to Healthy Families, despite requests from health care advocates that the board delay the vote until December.
The rules come in response to the stalemate between Congress and President Bush over legislation to reauthorize SCHIP (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 11/6).
The Senate last week voted 64-30 to approve revised SCHIP legislation (HR 3963) that would expand the program to cover 10 million children and increase spending on the program to $35 billion over five years, funded with a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the federal cigarette tax. The measure is similar to the bill that Bush vetoed last month, but it would limit coverage to children in families with annual incomes below 300% of the federal poverty level.
The House last month approved the bill but failed to pass it with a veto-proof majority; President Bush has pledged to veto the revised bill.
Members of Congress are continuing negotiations (California Healthline, 11/5).
The California rules will not take effect for a month, and the board has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 5 to determine whether to move ahead with creating the wait list and removing children from the program (Sacramento Bee, 11/6).