SCHIP legislation increases eligibility

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The new version of the State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expands eligibility to cover 11 million more children, including those of upper middle class families. Previously, the income limit was 200% of the Federal poverty level. This new legislation has changed it to as much as $88,000 (400% of the Federal poverty level) in many states.

People who are opposed to socialized (aka universal, single payer, or whichever buzz term is en vogue this week) health care have noticed the first step approach SCHIP takes. The majority of the nation’s children will be eligible for either SCHIP or Medicaid coverage, paving the way for federal expansion to cover the parents of these children.

The good news is that families who are on the edge – unable to pay the premiums for employer provided insurance and earning too much to qualify for Medicaid – will now be eligible for health care for at least their children.

Many states, such as Illinois, have implemented stepped programs for uninsured children based upon their parents’ income. There is no upper income limit, with higher earning families paying a monthly fee premium for coverage.These programs are seen by many as a front for universal health care. With a few more years of legislation and a great public relations campaign, Washington could have the coveted “single payer” system they’ve longer for.

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