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Home > Advocacy > Alerts and Updates > Selected Alert

 
 

LEGISLATIVE ALERT

10/4/2007

Mr. President, Here are the Real Facts about CHIP

Override the President's Veto on Children's Health!

The President has vetoed CHIP. But Congress has the last word.

It is clear that the President's priorities do not include all American children. His veto creates a road block to providing the nation's low-income, uninsured children with health coverage.

Congress has come a long way to create a bipartisan compromise that will extend health care to nearly 4 million more children, as well as maintain coverage for the 6.6 million children currently enrolled. The bill is also a chance to stop a dangerous Medicaid rehab reg.

Despite this bipartisan effort, Congress now has the larger obstacle of overriding the President's veto. WE CAN DO IT!

What's Next
The bill will return to Congress for a vote to override the President's veto. We need a two-third's majority to override the veto in the House, and we're still short about two-dozen votes.

The President is just plain wrong about CHIP and Congress needs to know the REAL FACTS!


ACTION REQUIRED

ACTION


CALL
Call your Representative right away.
U.S. Capitol Switchboard 1-800-828-0498

E-MAIL
To send an e-mail or visit,
Web link.

MESSAGE

Tell your Representative the REAL FACTS about CHIP, and tell them to OVERRIDE THE PRESIDENT'S VETO!

*CHIP adds $35 billion to the program over the next five years to cover the 6.6 million children who are currently enrolled, plus the 4 million additional children, a majority of whom are already eligible but not enrolled.

*CHIP does not "expand" the CHIP program - it limits the program eligibility more than current law.

*CHIP is focused on enrolling eligible low-income children.

*CHIP is not government-run health care. CHIP provides private health care to people who cannot afford to purchase it themselves, but it does charge premiums and co-pays.

*NO STATE currently covers children at $83,000, and CHIPRA does NOT raise the eligibility level in states to cover families up to $83,000.

*CHIP severely limits eligibility for adults.

*CHIP does NOT provide coverage to illegal immigrants.

*CHIP is a combination of the best private and public approaches to providing health coverage for children.

BACKGROUND

The Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act

The bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) provides $35 billion in additional funding for CHIP and Medicaid for the five years, FY 2008-2012. The bill pays for the extension of the SCHIP program through an increase in the federal tax on tobacco products. A pack of cigarettes will be taxed an extra $0.61.



CHIPRA does not “expand” the CHIP program – it limits the program eligibility more than current law.



CHIPRA is focused on enrolling eligible low-income children. Fully 84% of children who will enroll in CHIP after the reauthorization is passed are currently eligible but not enrolled in CHIP. Approximately 70% of the children who will be enrolled will come from families making less than 200% of the federal poverty level, and 45% of the newly enrolled children will come from the poorest segment of society, those in families with incomes under the poverty level (approximately $20,000 for a family of four).



REALITY: The Bi-Partisan CHIP Bill is Designed to Target the Same Kids the President Says He Wants to Cover. The measure ensures that states must cover their lowest-income kids first by phasing in a new requirement for coverage of low-income children as a condition of receiving CHIP funding for coverage of children above 300 percent of the poverty level. After October 1, 2010, federal matching payments are not permitted to States that cover children whose family incomes exceed 300 percent of poverty, if the State does not meet a target for the percentage of children at or below 200 percent of poverty enrolled in CHIP. The target rate would be the average rate of insurance coverage (public and private) among the highest-ranking 10 States. In reality, CHIP focuses virtually all of its resources on children in the poorest working families, fewer than 1 in 10 kids covered under CHIP lives in a family of four earning more than $41,000 a year. In addition, our bill further prioritizes children by phasing non-pregnant adults out of the program. By vetoing the bipartisan bill, the President is continuing his policy of covering non-pregnant adults with CHIP money. [HR 976, 2007]


More FACTS about CHIP!



Facts are Facts:

The Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act



The bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) provides $35 billion in additional funding for CHIP and Medicaid for the five years, FY 2008-2012. The bill pays for the extension of the SCHIP program through an increase in the federal tax on tobacco products. A pack of cigarettes will be taxed an extra $0.61.



CHIPRA does not “expand” the CHIP program – it limits the program eligibility more than current law. Currently, any state may apply to the federal government for a waiver to increase its CHIP income eligibility limit to any level it wishes. Until this year, the Bush Administration has approved every waiver to do so. CHIPRA would limit states’ ability to enroll children in families with incomes above 300% of the federal poverty level (approximately $60,000 for a family of four), with two exceptions, which are grandfathered in.



CHIPRA is focused on enrolling eligible low-income children. Fully 84% of children who will enroll in CHIP after the reauthorization is passed are currently eligible but not enrolled in CHIP. Approximately 70% of the children who will be enrolled will come from families making less than 200% of the federal poverty level, and 45% of the newly enrolled children will come from the poorest segment of society, those in families with incomes under the poverty level (approximately $20,000 for a family of four).



CHIPRA severely limits eligibility for adults. The bill bans states from enrolling childless adults in CHIP. It would shift all childless adults off the program in the next few years. The bill would not allow the federal government to accept new waivers to enroll parents of eligible children. States already enrolling parents would be allowed to continue, at a reduced federal match. Pregnant women would be allowed to enroll in CHIP at state option.



CHIP is not government-run health care. Fully 77% of CHIP enrollees are covered in private managed care health plans. CHIP provides private health care to people who cannot afford to purchase it themselves, but it charges premiums and co-pays.



“Crowd out” of private coverage is limited in CHIPRA. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that one-third of children who will enroll in CHIP through funds provided by CHIPRA will have previously been covered by privately-financed insurance. While that sounds like a high number, the CBO director has noted that crowd out is inevitable in any attempt to cover uninsured children. He has said that he has “not seen another plan that adds [as many] kids to SCHIP with a 33 percent crowd-out rate. This is pretty much as good as it is going to get.”



CHIPRA does not provide coverage to illegal immigrants. The bill reiterates current federal law which prohibits coverage to illegal immigrants. The bill does amend current citizenship documentation requirements, which have been shown to create a barrier to health-care coverage for U.S. citizens — especially children — who are eligible for health insurance through Medicaid. According to the Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, “The largest adverse effect of this policy has been on people who are American citizens ? we have not turned up many undocumented immigrants receiving Medicaid.” CHIPRA allows applicants to prove their citizenship by providing a Social Security Number (SSN). The Social Security Administration would verify the SSNs against applicants’ names and citizenship status.

© Child Welfare League of America. The content of these publications may not be reproduced in any way, including posting on the Internet, without the permission of CWLA. For permission to use material from CWLA's website or publications, contact us using our website assistance form.


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