With all the activity about health reform here in California, it might be easy to forget all the drama about SCHIP at the federal level.
The Senate Finance Committee approved a tobacco tax to fund a $35 billion increase in the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Robert Pear at The New York Times provides some background.
Politicians of both parties give verbal support for children’s coverage, the question is whether they support raising the money needed to fully fund the program, especially under new “pay-go” rules. Some wanted reduce payments to Medicare Advantage HMOs; others wanted to look at other taxes.
What’s this mean for California, and Healthy Families, our version of SCHIP? The $35 billion increase is less than the $50 billion increase advocated by many children’s, religious, and health groups, which would assured that California could reach its goal of covering all children. This Senate version will need to be reconciled with the House. And whtatever the amount, the other fight is the formula to distribute the funds between states.
In short, the pressure needs to kept up. This campaign is a long ways from over.