Ugly SCHIP News

A report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service indicates that if the SCHIP program (for providing health insurance to children in low-to-middle income families that don't qualify for Medicaid) is merely renewed at fiscal year 2007 levels, without the bi-partisan expansion that was passed by Congress and vetoed by President Bush, Ohio will begin to run out of SCHIP money in September 2008, with an $11.9 million shortfall by the end of the year. That's if the program is renewed at current levels.

Will it happen? Now even that is in doubt. Negotiations on a compromise SCHIP expansion that could pass by a veto-proof majority have fizzled. GOP House members have hardened their positions on demanding citizenship documentation as a prerequisite for enrollment and excluding adults (such as parents of eligible children) from the program, among other sticking points. Now it looks like those areas of disagreement may prevent even an extension of the program at current funding levels:

However, Congress "might have as much difficulty with an extension as it has had with a full reauthorization" because the "sticking points in this year's debate have been less over money and more over policy changes advocated by Republicans," CQ Today reports. Those issues, including restrictions on SCHIP coverage for adults and tighter rules aimed at preventing undocumented immigrants from enrolling in the program, "could arise during debate on an extension," according to CQ Today.

Democrats also likely will attempt to negate rules implemented by CMS in August that would require states to enroll at least 95% of children in families with annual incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level before expanding enrollment to children in families with incomes above 250% of the poverty level. President Bush "would likely use his veto power, just as he had with the full reauthorization," if Democrats negate those rules in an extension, CQ Today reports.

So much for working with "moderate" Republicans to pass a bill that the public favors and a majority of legislators say they want. Instead of a compromise, the result is a hardening of GOP partisan ideology at the expense of children.

Come on...

This is such a one sided argument! The republicans have given the ok for a 20% increase in the funding for the program. Bush said subsequently that he'd be willing to bump that up a bit as well. So there WOULD be funding for all the kids in Ohio through the year IF the Democrats would sit down and bargain in good faith ... but they won't. Further, why SHOULD illegals and/or adults be funded through SCHIP? That "C" you see in there stands for "Children" ... it's not named the SIAHIP (substitute Illegal Aliens for Children) nor is it called the SAHIP (Adults instead of Children). Get it? CHILDREN'S Health Insurance Program. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp? An NO, I don't think our tax dollars should be allocated for funding Illegals through this program. Period.

The Program Does NOT Fund Illegal Immigrants

What you say is false. The law specifically excludes them. It even excludes LEGAL immigrants, a concession to Senate Republicans.

What the GOP legislators demand is that every applicant produce a birth certificate at the time they apply. Lots of people don't have them. Studies have shown that requiring birth certificates winds up excluding people who are entitled to coverage. The law sets up a system for verifying eligibility by other means. But that doesn't stop people like you from bleating over and over that the program covers illegal aliens, which isn't true. There has never been any evidence of illegal immigrants breaking the rules in order to get into this program, and it doesn't make sense that they would try. Illegal immigrants are afraid of being caught. Why would they sign up for a program for which they're not eligible and that checks their eligibility against government records?

As to adults, a minority of state covers them, and Ohio does not. Adults are generally covered only to help bring children into the program, i.e., by covering parents of eligible children. Adults represent only a small fraction of those covered.

This is a popular program with broad bipartisan support, including lots of influential Republican legislators. A majority of Ohio GOP House members voted for it. There is NO REASON why Democrats should agree to gut the program to satisfy Bush and his small minority of hard line ideologues.

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