California Weighs Impact of Veto of Kids’ Health Bill
Health care coverage for California children enrolled in the State Children's Health Insurance Program will remain intact until a funding extension ends Nov. 16, leaving county and state officials concerned as Congress tries to override President Bush's veto of a bill to reauthorize and expand the program, the Oakland Tribune reports (Winkelman, Oakland Tribune, 10/4).
The compromise legislation vetoed on Wednesday would have reauthorized and expanded SCHIP by $35 billion over five years. Lawmakers in the House will vote on Oct. 18 to override the veto (Bishop, Oakland Tribune, 10/4).
Meanwhile, Bush's proposal to expand the program by $5 billion over five years has met criticism from California officials who oversee Healthy Families, the state's version of SCHIP.
Ronald Spingarn of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which governs Healthy Families, said the state received $1.2 billion last fiscal year to run the program but needs an additional $300 million to avoid placing children on waiting lists (Winkelman, Oakland Tribune, 10/4).
Marmi Bermudez, health coverage outreach coordinator for San Mateo County, said state officials might choose to cap enrollment or drop children from the program, a move that would place the burden on counties to pay for coverage (Bishop, Oakland Tribune, 10/4).
David Hurst -- director of marketing for the Health Plan of San Joaquin, which administers Healthy Families for San Joaquin County -- said the president's expansion proposal is too small to keep up with projected rises in operating costs (Winkelman, Oakland Tribune, 10/4).