Friday, September 28, 2007

Joe loves war, hates children

Joe deserves to be replaced in Congress for this vote alone. Here's what the SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) does.
Washington, D.C. – A bipartisan coalition of Senate and House leaders today announced a bicameral agreement to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional five years. CHIP provides health coverage to American children whose parents do not qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private insurance. The $35 billion agreement struck by House and Senate negotiators will bring health coverage to approximately ten million children in need – preserving coverage for all 6.6 million children currently covered by CHIP, and reaching millions more low-income, uninsured American children in the next five years.

Below is an outline of the agreement, which is designed to target specifically the lowest-income uninsured American children for outreach and enrollment. The agreement does not call for CHIP coverage for children in families at higher income levels. Instead, it reduces Federal matching funds for future coverage of children at higher income levels, and provides incentives to cover the lowest-income children instead. CHIP coverage of childless adults and parents will be phased out to maintain the program’s focus on kids.

Investing $35 Billion in New Funding for CHIP. The agreement reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program, investing an additional $35 billion over five years to strengthen CHIP’s financing, increase health insurance coverage for low-income children, and improve the quality of health care children receive.

Lowering the rate of uninsured low-income children. The agreement will provide health coverage to millions of low-income children who are currently uninsured. The bill also ensures that the 6.6 million children who currently participate in CHIP continue to receive health coverage. Pending final Congressional Budget Office estimates, the reduction in the number of uninsured children will approach four million children.

Improving Access to Benefits for Children (Dental Coverage/Mental Health Parity/EPSDT). Under the agreement, quality dental coverage will be provided to all children enrolled in CHIP. The agreement also ensures states will offer mental health services on par with medical and surgical benefits covered under CHIP, and protects medically necessary benefits (EPSDT) for low-income children.

Prioritizing children’s coverage. The agreement makes several modifications as it relates to populations eligible for CHIP.

Pregnant Women: The agreement provides coverage to pregnant women as a new state option as well as preserving the options to cover them through a state waiver or through regulation.

Parents: The agreement prohibits any new waivers to cover parents in the CHIP program. States that have received waivers to cover low-income parents under CHIP will be allowed to transition parents into a separate block grant. The federal match for services to parents covered through CHIP will be reduced.

Childless Adults: The agreement retains the current law prohibition of waivers to allow coverage of childless adults. Currently covered childless adults will transition off CHIP. For states that have received CHIP waivers to cover childless adults, the agreement terminates those waivers after a one-year period, provides temporary Medicaid funding for already-enrolled adults, and allows states to apply for a Medicaid waiver for coverage.

Providing states with incentives to lower the rate of uninsured low income children. Under the financing structure, states will receive state-based allotments that are responsive to state demographic and national spending trends and allow additional up-front funding for states planning improvements. States that face a funding shortfall and meet enrollment goals will receive an adjustment payment to ensure that no child who is eligible for Medicaid or CHIP is denied coverage or placed on a waiting list. The formula also sets in place new overall caps on federal funding to ensure the program’s expenditures do not exceed the amounts authorized. The agreement provides incentives for states to lower the rate uninsured children by enrolling eligible children in CHIP or Medicaid.

Agreement Replaces CMS August 17th Letter to States. The Congress agrees with the President on the importance of covering low-income children have health coverage while taking steps to address crowd-out and prioritize coverage of lower income children. The agreement replaces the flawed CMS August 17th letter to states with a more thoughtful and appropriate approach. In place of the CMS letter, the agreement gives states time and assistance in developing and implementing best practices to address crowd out. The agreement also puts the lowest income children first in line by phasing in a new requirement for coverage of low-income children as a condition of receiving CHIP funding for coverage of children above 300 percent of the poverty level.

Improving Outreach Tools to Simplify and Streamline Enrollment of Eligible Children. The agreement provides $100 million in grants for new outreach activities to states, local governments, schools, community-based organizations, safety-net providers and others.

Improving the Quality of Health Care for Low-Income Children. The agreement establishes a new quality child health initiative to develop and implement quality measures and improve state reporting of quality data.

Improving Access to Private Coverage Options. The agreement expands on current premium assistance options for states. The agreement allows states to offer a premium assistance subsidy for qualified, cost-effective employer-sponsored coverage to children eligible for CHIP and who have access to such coverage. It also changes the federal rules governing employer-sponsored insurance to make it easier for states and employers to offer premium assistance programs.

Legislative language is currently being finalized, and will be available Monday. The House of Representatives will likely vote on legislation implementing this agreement on Tuesday of next week. The Senate will take up the measure shortly thereafter, to deliver a full renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program to the President for signature into law before CHIP’s current authorization expires on September 30.


Joe Sylvester said...

Joe Knollenberg hates children?? I could have sworn he has a consistent pro life voting record.

Gary Peters hates children because he supports the American holocaust of Roe v Wade.


MIKE said...

Typical Republican - incapable of understanding nuances. Pro-life to them is BEFORE birth. After birth - well let them be peons for the wealthy, and fodder for the war machine.

Bruce Fealk said...

Joe and all "pro-life" voters are really only pro-birth. After they are born they don't give a damn about them.

MIKE said...

What is pro-life about voting no on legislation to help the workers whose lungs are poisened by a chemical in the popcorn industry? What is pro-life about voting no on a continuing law for flood insurance. Like Bruce said, Knollenberg doesn't give a damn about you after you are born!

Chet said...

The proper response to this thread has less to do with Joe's pro-life position than it does with the ridiculousness of the premise of the title.

The title is "over the top" in terms of political discourse. The idea that "Joe loves war" or "hates children" is absurd. No one I know loves war (although some hesitatingly understand its necessity). Likewise, most people love children, and to equate their policy positions for what they believe will help children the most in the long-run with whether they love them is ridiculous.

In fact, its an interjection of a type of "religion" into politics. The "religion" is "I'm Bruce Fealk and my moral interpretations are superior to everyone else's. I disagree with Joe Knollenberg on policy, ergo he is immoral." It's condescending and destructive to our political system. This is not to say that some moral judgment aren't part of politics or policy - obviously, ending slavery was a morally-driven political outcome, as was the fight against Hitler, or even lesser issues of "routine" First Amendment violations, abortion, etc. I'm not saying that morality shouldn't be appealed to, but this type of stuff is over-the-top and simply untrue.

Bruce Fealk said...

Chet, you sure are full of hot air.