Bush administration officials said that they would no longer approve any new state waivers or renew existing ones that allow adults to be covered under the State Childrens Health Insurance Program, and they lashed out at a Senate bill they said would hinder efforts to do so.
In a three-page letter sent to Senate Finance Committee members Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said that the agency has taken measures this year to move low-income adults out of SCHIP and into the Medicaid program, adding that by October more than half, 55%, will have made the transition.
In fiscal 2006, roughly 700,000 adults were covered under SCHIP.
I am concerned that the reauthorization legislation reported by the Senate Finance Committee will reverse the progress we have made with states, Leavitt said. The bill would allow states to keep their adults in SCHIP for a longer period of time than would be allowable under the administrations approach.
Leavitt cited a Congressional Budget Office analysis that said under the Senates bill, about 600,000 adults would still be enrolled in SCHIP by 2012.
Last month, the Finance Committee members called on President Bush to stop the administration practice of granting and extending waivers that allow states to enroll adults in SCHIP. The mess created by the waivers makes it even more difficult to reauthorize SCHIP, Grassley said at the time. -- by Matthew DoBias