Groups Seek Funding Upswing for Kids’ Insurance Program
Religious leaders and community activists on Monday rallied in Hayward to call for Congress to increase funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the East Bay Business Times reports.
Congress is expected to reauthorize the program this year, but debate continues over dollar amounts for the program. The program's current budget is $5 billion annually, and President Bush has proposed increasing that amount by $4.8 billion over five years, far less than the $60 billion children's health care advocates are seeking as part of a strategy they say would allow states to expand coverage to all children.
The Business Times reports that the president's proposal would be inadequate to maintain coverage for all children currently enrolled in the program and that an increase of at least $15 billion is needed to avoid a budget gap for the program in California of about $2.7 billion over five years. In that case, 40% of children enrolled in Healthy Families, California's version of the program, would be at risk of losing coverage (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 3/19).
The House is scheduled to debate funding for SCHIP this week (Hayward Daily Review, 3/20).