HHS Needs to Act on State’s Request to Expand Healthy Families, Mercury News Says
Noting that the federal government has approved several other states' proposals to expand CHIP programs, a San Jose Mercury News editorial says that "California is wondering when the phone is going to ring" on its expansion request. In December, the state filed a request to expand Medi-Cal and Healthy Families to cover an additional 300,000 uninsured children and adults, the editorial says, but federal officials "raised some technical issues." The state responded in March and "[a]fter months of silence" federal officials "questioned the state's decision not to include child support payments as income when determining a family's eligibility," the editorial says (San Jose Mercury News, 8/22). HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson has proposed that child support money be included in income determinations, but state officials say that this policy would prevent many deserving parents from entering the program because their income would then exceed the threshold (California Healthline, 8/8). Pointing out that California's proposal is similar to those already approved in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and New York, the editorial asks, "[W]hat's the hold up?" on a plan that "makes sense, and ... fits right in with the Bush administration's goal of insuring more families." The editorial concludes that it is "[t]ime to put ... into action" Thompson's "promise" to "make it easier and faster for states to reduce the ranks of the uninsured" (San Jose Mercury News, 8/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.