Just took a gander at the Health Affairs blog, which is chock full of reports and analyses on the SCHIP debate in Washington, DC.
While we debate historic expansions at the state level, we are facing the possibility of a remarkable contraction at the federal level. If SCHIP is not reauthorized, or even reauthorized at current levels, the state’s Healthy Families program will at some point in the near future stop enrolling children (and create waiting lists), or start kicking them off. It’s not a pretty picture.
President George W. Bush want to cutback on SCHIP and Healthy Families, because he sees such programs as leading toward a system of “government-run health care.” As if that’s a bad thing. Or a relevant thing, given the needs of children to have health coverage.
What does this mean for state health reform?
* Bush’s directives are a direct attack at California and health reform here, and could reduce the lucrative 2-to-1 reimbursements our state would get from SCHIP, making health reform harder to finance.
* In a perverse way, the efforts to restrict SCHIP makes the need for health reform even greater. If children are going to lose SCHIP/Healthy Families coverage, then we need to ensure children get coverage through Medicaid, which is an entitlement program, and for which the Bush Administration hass less ablity to deny funds. While we wouldn’t get a 2-1 return, California would still get needed federal matching funds–but only if reform is in place.