An article in the Wall Street Journal today titillates us with talk of a “rift” between Republicans in Congress and the Bush Administration over money for children’s health insurance.
Republicans and Republican candidates are representing states that have acknowledged that more needs to be done to cover middle income children. These states are applying for waivers that will allow them to include more children beyond the ceiling set by the federal governmnet at 200% of poverty level — $34,340 for a family of three. (California is one of those Republican-led states that is seeking to expand its children’s coverage program).
But none (except former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee) is taking the President’s meager allotment for the program to task. They’re not even really inquiring about it.
The president has proposed to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program at a piddling $5 billion over the next five years, which would leave many states — including California — woefully short of the amount they need. Advocates believe the amount should be an additional $65 billion over the next five years. Democrats are fighting for another $50 billion.
If health care reform is going to happen, funding children’s coverage a cornerstone to that plan. All elected leaders — Democrats and Republicans alike — need to be pressuring the administration to increase those costs.
That will definitely involve more direct confrontation than what is going on now.