A number of Republican and Democratic governors are appealing to President Bush to protect the budget for State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a program that provides coverage for about 6 million children whose families don't qualify for Medicaid. The governors are worried about the future of the program, as President Bush's budget proposes cutting back federal aid to the states.
Over the past several years, states have expanded SCHIP to include more families above the federal poverty level in a move that ties in with recent universal health trends. If that funding is cut, states would have to make some tough choices for those enrolled in the program. "Such decisions could include freezing enrollment, restricting eligibility, increasing premiums charged to low-income families or reducing benefits like dental and vision care," notes the New York Times. The governors want the federal government to provide $745 million--enough money to shore up the program through October. They also want Bush to revamp his budget in order to ensure the long term health of SCHIP.
For more on SCHIP:
- read this New York Times article