Children’s Health Extension Will Hamper State Reform
President Bush's second veto of a bill that would have expanded and reauthorized the State Children's Health Insurance Program is "a big blow to California's [health care] reform effort," according to a Sacramento Bee editorial.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has proposed a measure to extend SCHIP through September 2008 so "states don't endure shortfalls if they cover kids," the editorial says. However, that measure "kills Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) hope that the federal government would allow -- and fund -- coverage for kids in families" with annual incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level, according to the editorial.
California has adopted "emergency regulations that would put eligible children seeking coverage on a waiting list and begin to cut children currently covered from the program," according to the editorial. If Congress and the president approve SCHIP funding at 2007 levels, "California will be forced to go the route of disenrollments and waiting lists," the editorial warns.
Covering the current California children enrolled in SCHIP through September would cost a projected $1.23 billion, though if funding is frozen at 2007 levels, the state will experience a shortfall of $265 million.
"Unfortunately, the country will have to wait for a new president and a larger majority in Congress to reach more uninsured children," the editorial concludes (Sacramento Bee, 12/18).