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August 13, 2007

State fears insurance for children in jeopardy

SACRAMENTO – President Bush's plan to veto a children's health insurance bill could leave about 200,000 California children uninsured and disrupt Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's goal of providing universal coverage, state officials said.

Bush has threatened to veto a pending Senate bill that would add $35 billion over the next five years to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage for children of the working poor. In California, the program is called Healthy Families.

Children enrolled in these programs have parents whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, called Medi-Cal in California, but not high enough for them to afford health insurance.

Bush also opposes a House bill that would add even more money to the program. Instead, he favors an alternative that would add $5 billion and reduce eligibility.

Bush's position set up a clash with Schwarzenegger, who has made expanding the program a top priority. It is a critical component of Schwarzenegger's plan to provide health insurance to the state's 6.5 million uninsured residents.

Schwarzenegger, who campaigned for Bush in 2004, repeatedly has disagreed with the Republican president on a variety of issues, including California's attempts to limit air pollution and greenhouse gases.

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Posted by healthinsurance at August 13, 2007 01:25 PM