New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine is challenging the CMS new restrictions on enrolling children from higher-income families in the State Childrens Health Insurance Program.
In a letter to President Bush issued earlier this week, Corzine said that the Bush administrations new policy would deny health coverage to as many as 10,000 children in New Jersey.
I am prepared, if necessary, to pursue legal action to further the goal of protecting our most vulnerable children, he wrote.
Last month, the CMS released a directive to all states that said that they would no longer be allowed to expand their coverage to children from families with income above 250% of the federal poverty level unless states can guarantee that they have successfully enrolled 95% of the eligible children from families below 200% of the poverty level in either SCHIP or Medicaid. The federal poverty level is currently $20,650 for a family of four.
These new conditions violate the terms of SCHIPs statutory and regulatory framework, and overstep the CMS authority by altering regulations without utilizing appropriate procedural safeguards, he wrote.
Corzine said he would continue to provide SCHIP coverage to children in families with incomes up to 350% of the federal poverty level, which is in accordance with the state plan amendments and waivers approved by the federal government in 1998, 2005 and 2006. His letter comes on the heels of the CMS rejection of New Yorks proposal to expand SCHIP coverage to families that earn up to four times the federal poverty level.
Its premature to say what CMS would do if the state is not in compliance, said CMS spokesman Jeff Nelligan in response to Corzines letter. The key here is that we hope that New Jersey would focus on the core mission of the SCHIP program, which is to insure low-income children. -- by Jennifer Lubell
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your letter to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.