More Details on SCHIP Relief
More details emerging re: Congressional Action over the weekend to provide stop-gap funding for states facing SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) shortfalls. 14 states face SCHIP shortfalls in this fiscal year totally just over $1B. MA is on the list facing a shortfall of $144M. The Congressional action enables redistribution of $271.6M in unused SCHIP funds in FY04 and 05. The money goes first to those states facing funding shortfalls most immediately. That's a total of only six states, including MA -- also GA, IL, MD, NJ, RI. Massachusetts is a big winner among these states, garnering $55.9M and forestalling the start of any funding shortfall from 3/6/07 until 5/4/07.
This action only buys some time. Even with this stopgap fix, over the remainder of the federal fiscal year between 5/5/07 and 9/30/07, the aggregate SCHIP shortfall for all states is estimated at $716M. The hope is that the new Congress will fill the FY07 shortfall, and reauthorize the whole SCHIP program (the 10 year SCHIP authorization expires on 9/30/07).
Here's three cheers for Sen. Ted Kennedy who -- once again -- was an indispensible player in making this happen.