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AG Coakley Files Brief Challenging New Bush Medicaid Rules

AG Coakley Files Brief Challenging New Bush Medicaid Rules

April 9, 2008

Martha Coakley is weighing in against new CMS rules limiting the aiblity of states to expand their SCHIP eligibility levels. Excerpts from her release below:

BOSTON – Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office filed an amicus brief in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey supporting New Jersey’s challenge to a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy limiting the states’ ability to use federal money to fund health insurance for low-income children.

The amicus brief argues that an August 17, 2007, letter sent from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to all 50 states fundamentally altered the rules governing the State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) and effectively denies federally-funded health coverage to certain low-income children. The brief further states that CMS’s letter is invalid because the federal agency failed to adhere to federal rulemaking requirements.

“SCHIP has been a great success as a federal/state partnership, allowing Massachusetts to provide affordable health insurance to children of families making less than 300% of the federal poverty level,” said Attorney General Coakley. “With the stroke of a pen, the Bush administration is simply changing the rules and placing health insurance for low-income children into question.” ...

In the letter, CMS informed states they would no longer receive federal reimbursement for children in families who earn between 250 and 300% of the federal poverty level, which is the equivalent of a family of four living off a yearly salary of $53,016, unless they meet several burdensome requirements.