President Bushs five-year proposal to fund the State Childrens Health Insurance Program would provide less than half the funds states would need to maintain enrollment, according to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The center projects that the total federal funding shortfall for the program will be $12 billion to $13.4 billion over the next five years. Bushs plan is to reauthorize SCHIP for five years at the baseline level of $5 billion per year, provide an additional $4.8 billion to states above the baseline funding levels starting in 2009, and accelerate distribution of unspent SCHIP funds from prior years. Even with those additional funds, the center estimates that states would experience a funding shortfall of $7 billion to cover children under SCHIP over this time period.
Until the funding shortfalls are closed, states will have to scale back their SCHIP programs by capping enrollment, eliminating benefits, increasing beneficiary cost-sharing or cutting payments to providers, unless states come up with their own resources to compensate for the federal funding shortfall, the analysis stated. -- by Jennifer Lubell