Kids’ Insurance Coverage Hinges on Increase in Federal Funds
Health care coverage for thousands of children in San Mateo County could be cut if federal funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program is not increased, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Funding will expire in September unless Congress takes action to renew funding and increase the amount (Carpenter, San Francisco Examiner, 4/5).
President Bush has proposed to increase funds for SCHIP by $4.8 billion over five years. In addition, Bush has proposed to reduce federal funds for states that have expanded SCHIP eligibility to children in families with annual incomes more than 200% of the federal poverty level to "refocus the program on low-income uninsured children."
At least 17 states would lose federal funds as a result of the proposal.
Meanwhile, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and other Democrats have proposed to increase funds for SCHIP by $50 billion over five years (California Healthline, 4/2).
Marmi Bermudez, manager of the Children's Health Initiative Program, said Healthy Families, California's version of SCHIP, covers 8,900 county children under age 19 with the help of $14.8 million in federal funding.
Maya Altman, executive director of the Health Plan of San Mateo County, said the number of uninsured children in the county has decreased from 17,000 in 2003 to about 3,000 in 2005.
However, Barbara Erbacher of the health care work group Peninsula Interfaith Action said if federal funding is renewed at the current level, the number of county children covered in 2008 would drop by 17% (San Francisco Examiner, 4/5).