PA Legislature Approves Children's Health Expansion
News from this past week from the Kaiser Daily Brief:
The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday voted 176-19 to approve a compromise bill that would expand eligibility for the state's SCHIP program to thousands more children. Under the bill, children of families with annual incomes of up to 300% of the federal poverty level -- about $60,000 for a family of four -- would be eligible for coverage, but would be required to pay a portion of the premium. Children of families that meet certain criteria, such as having health problems that prevent them from obtaining private insurance, and have annual incomes above 300% of the poverty level also would be eligible but would have to pay the full premium. Republicans lawmakers wanted to limit the expansion, maintaining that families who could afford private insurance would enroll in the program and that businesses would reduce coverage for employees' children as a result. The bill was passed without any debate and now moves to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D). Top aides have indicated that Rendell will sign the bill.
MA health reform approved in April also increased kids' eligibility to 300% fpl. Next September 30, the 10-year-old federal statutory authorization for SCHIP expires. We are counting on a vigorous fight to extend and expand SCHIP to cover all uninsured kids. And we're looking forward to it...