KIDDIECARE: Washington Post Wants Eligibility Limits Eased
An editorial in today's Washington Post suggests that Congress and the president "may want to go back to the drawing board" in order to ease the eligibility restrictions placed on the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (Kiddiecare) law. The editorial cites a recent Urban Institute study which found that "there is money enough in the program -- about $24 billion over five years -- to insure about twice as many children as the rules leave eligible" (the Kiddiecare law limits coverage to children in families earning up to 200% of the poverty level). According to the Post, the "money is estimated to be enough to insure almost 6 million; the number eligible is not much more than 3 million." The editorial states that a "major part of the problem is that not all children currently eligible for Medicaid receive it." The Urban Institute puts the number of children in the category at between 1.6 million and 4.7 million: "These children are currently insured only in theory. Perhaps some of the money from the new program could be used to induce the states to cover them in fact, the study suggests -- help pay the state share of enrolling them in Medicaid." The Post points out that the "trick is in matching the money to the kids," noting that the "risk is that if the rules aren't sensibly eased, the program will end up doing a lot less good than it either could or should" (4/15).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.