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The Bush Administration is trying to restrict SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) from covering children whose families fall with 250% of the federal poverty guidelines. This new move comes after years of allowing these children to receive public health insurance. If the Administration is successful, millions of children will be left without insurance because their families can’t afford the private insurance. By the way, the families who fall into this 250% category make $43,310 for a family of four. Anyone who is trying to raise a family knows this isn’t a lot of money. In effect, the new restrictions squeeze lower middle income families so that the private insurance industry can make more profits.

Two opponents of the plan are quoted in the Wall St. Journal, “Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he hopes the administration will reconsider the policy.

“I have real concerns that this new policy takes America’s kids too quickly in the wrong direction,” he said. “This drastic change in policy sets states up to fail and jeopardizes coverage for tens of thousands of children in low-income, working families. New policies like this warrant greater transparency before changes are made.”

Health advocates attacked the move. “The administration’s new requirements will effectively establish a new income limit for SCHIP at 250% of poverty,” Kathleen Stoll, director of health policy for Families USA. “These policies will mean more children going uninsured for longer periods of time, and more children who will remain uninsured because they cannot afford SCHIP.”

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