It looks like Congress is close to bipartisan agreement on substantial new funding for state children’s health insurance programs – between $35 and $50 billion over the next five years. While Senators Burr and Dole have already voted once against the Senate version of this bill, they will have another chance to vote on the bipartisan agreement. Don’t hold your breath for a “yes” from them for kids.
For his part, President Bush, apparently convinced that Republicans have no political problems, is threatening to veto this attempt to expand health coverage for children. I guess he figures this is just as popular a stance as maintaining our troop presence in Iraq. Good thing everything’s getting so much better there – isn’t that why US State Department personnel are now restricted to the Green Zone today?
Back in North Carolina, the new federal money would mean that we could nearly double the number of kids enrolled in Health Choice, our version of the children’s health insurance program. The bills under consideration would provide for very attractive financial incentives for states to enroll kids – most of whom are now eligible for Medicaid or Health Choice, but not enrolled.
In fact, FamiliesUSA estimates that NC would enroll between 123,000 and 150,000 more kids depending on which bill passed. And, of course, we would have more money and an easier time enrolling kids in our new Kid Care affordable health program for parents who make a little too much to qualify for Health Choice.