Wednesday, February 4, 2009

UPDATE: President Obama Signs CHIP Reauthorization!

Interesting commentary here.


A few minutes ago, President Barack Obama signed into law the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Though our nation endures uncertain economic times, we are pleased that the White House and Congress came together on this issue to wisely prioritize children’s health.

Once again, we express our sincere gratitude to you for your efforts in contacting your members of Congress on behalf of CHIP. This was a team effort! Your support and efforts on this legislation over the years was critical to our success and we share this victory with you and millions of families across our nation.

The reauthorization of CHIP means that more than $30 billion in federal funding will be available to provide health care for those currently enrolled in the program, and to enroll millions more children, the vast majority of whom are currently eligible for CHIP or Medicaid but unenrolled. The legislation also includes the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA), which will lift the five-year ban on eligibility for legally residing children and pregnant women in force since 1996.

While this accomplishment is significant, we know that CHIP reauthorization is not health reform for children—it is a bridge to what should rightly come thereafter, broader health reform to ensure that all children have access to affordable, high quality health coverage. The American Academy of Pediatrics looks forward to working with President Obama and leaders of both the House and Senate in the coming months on broader health care reform.

To learn more about other AAP advocacy initiatives you can be involved in, please visit


And more good news:
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release February 4, 2009
February 4, 2009
SUBJECT: State Children's Health Insurance Program
The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) encourages States to provide health coverage for uninsured children in families whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private insurance. Since 1997, when SCHIP was enacted, States have had the authority to set their SCHIP income eligibility levels, subject to available funding. In recent years, as the cost of private insurance has increased, States have raised eligibility levels to offer health care coverage to more families, with families paying a share of the cost based on their income.
On August 17, 2007, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a letter to State health officials limiting the flexibility of States to set income eligibility standards for their SCHIP programs. On May 7, 2008, CMS issued a subsequent letter restating the policy set forth in the August 17, 2007, letter.
The August 17, 2007, letter imposes additional requirements that States must meet in order to cover children under SCHIP plans, including plans that CMS had previously approved. These requirements have limited coverage under several State plans that otherwise would have covered additional, uninsured children. As a result, tens of thousands of children have been denied health care coverage. Unless the August 17, 2007, letter is withdrawn, many more children will be denied coverage.
By this memorandum, I request that you immediately withdraw the August 17, 2007, and May 7, 2008, letters to State health officials and implement SCHIP without the requirements imposed by those letters.
This memorandum does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

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