Senate Includes Funding for Family Opportunity Act in Budget
Senate Finance Chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) have secured a $7.9 billion, 10 year reserve fund for the Family Opportunity ActS 321) within the fiscal 2002 budget resolution, bringing the measure one "step closer to passage," CongressDaily reports. The act would allow parents earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level, about $51,150 for a family of four, to purchase Medicaid coverage for disabled children up to age 18. In addition, the bill would provide states with "greater flexibility" to offer health services to disabled children at home and would establish "family-to-family information centers" in each state to help parents with disabled children. Grassley said that including the reserve fund in the budget resolution "is critical to the bill's success." The bill still must pass the Finance panel, where it faces "a hurdle in the form" of Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles (R-Okla.), who remains concerned "about the bill's potential to duplicate existing federal programs." The bill also is part of the budget resolution that the House passed last month (Fulton, CongressDaily, 4/10).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.