HHS Will Redistribute $660 Million to States With SCHIP Spending Gaps
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Tuesday said he would use his statutory authority to reallocate $660 million in unspent federal funds to states that have SCHIP program budget shortfalls after $1.1 billion in such funds reverts to the U.S. Treasury on Friday, CQ Today reports (Carey, CQ Today, 9/28). In 2000 and 2003, Congress voted to allow states to retain unspent SCHIP funds, but this year the funds are included in the federal budget baseline. An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the return of the $1.1 billion will cause 17 states by 2007 to use all available funding for their SCHIP programs and six states will use all available funding for their SCHIP programs this year (California Healthline, 9/27).
In a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Joe Barton (R-Texas), Thompson stated, "No state will be left short, and no child will lose coverage due to a shortfall, period." Thompson said the Bush administration does not want states to lose access to the money and will work "aggressively" with Congress to "enroll more children who remain uninsured despite being eligible for coverage" with the help of states, schools, community groups and faith-based initiatives (CQ Today, 9/28).