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NC House Proposes Closing Children’s Health Insurance Program to New Kids this Year

Here’s the number of kids in recent months enrolling in NC Health Choice, NC’s state/federal affordable children’s health insurance program for kids of working parents:


In just the last four months, 3,334 kids have been able to get affordable health coverage through Health Choice. The federal government – as with all kids in Health Choice – picks up 75% of the cost of this new insurance. Unfortunately, with the budget unveiled today in the NC House, this enrollment is going to come to a screeching halt and it’s likely children would actually have to be dropped from health coverage. Why? The House puts in only $3.25 million in additional money to fund Health Choice. This isn’t even enough to serve the current children because increasing medical costs (the same is true in the private sector) eat up more than that $3.25 million increase.

Consider than even under overly optimistic assumptions from the NC Senate, the program was supposed to be kept open with only $6.5 million that would enroll 2,750 kids. This obviously isn’t enough to keep the program open in 2010-11 if over 3,000 kids have already enrolled in the last three months alone. Now the House cuts that additional funding in half – which is even less workable.

Only Governor Perdue seems to have a realistic assessment of what it takes to keep giving struggling NC families the option of affordable child health insurance over the next year. She included $8.5 million in expansion funding to cover at least 8,000 more kids. The House and Senate should look to the Governor’s recommendations for the way to go.

4 Comments

  1. Wellescent Health Blog

    May 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Of all the places to reduce funding in the budget, children’s health is not the place to be doing it. The state needs to instead look at the amount of money being spent on road infrastructure and decide which is really more important in the long run.

  2. AdamL

    May 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    It’s especially strange given the federal matching funds.

  3. HunterC

    May 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    The HHS spending in several parts of the various budgets are woefully underfunded.

    Just like this Health Choice example, even the $14 million the Governor and the Senate proposed for ADAP won’t carry the program through the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).

    These kids will be thrown off Health Choice. Another ADAP waitlist will develop.

    We can see that these things will happen now with the legislature in session and the budget being written.

    What is the problem?

    If they won’t fund state HHS programs…

    Will the honorables force the drug companies in RTP to give HIV meds to folks?

    Will the force Blue Cross to carry kids?

    Will they do everything corporations want at the expense of living, breathing people?

    I think we all know the answer.

  4. SSchmidt

    May 28, 2010 at 10:28 am

    All of this is horrible and true and insurance coverage should be a top priority for everyone in my view. I agree we must shout loudly on their behalf.

    However, it remains that state and local revenues are inadequate and cannot support state costs unless 1) we cut other programs 2) the feds keep giving us money and 3) the state updates the revenue system. THis is what we need to talk about.