Two Republican Senate Finance Committee members have called on the White House to reject a proposal from New York health officials that would expand the states childrens health insurance program to cover families with annual incomes as high as $82,600 for a family of four.
In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Pat Roberts of Kansas said that New Yorks proposal is in direct conflict with the legislative language and congressional intent of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.
In May, New York health officials submitted a proposal to HHS that would effectively allow children in families that make up to four times the federal poverty level, roughly $20,650 for a family of four, to be covered under its SCHIP plan. As is, the states Medicaid eligibility is currently 200% of the poverty level, or about $41,300.
In light of the above, we would appreciate learning why this administration would feel compelled to approve any state plan amendment when the law and legislative history all support the argument that SCHIP is intended for lower income children, the letter asks.
Both the House and the Senate have passed bills that would reauthorize the SCHIP program, which expires at the end of September. -- by Matthew DoBias
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