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September 19, 2007

Governors Push for Insurance Change

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger lobbied the Bush administration Monday to roll back rule changes that limited the scope of a popular children's health insurance program.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, the governors said 28 other governors had joined their effort to pressure the administration to reconsider changes to the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

"The requirements amount to a unilateral restriction on state authority to provide health insurance coverage for children and undermine the foundation of the state-federal partnership upon which SCHIP was built," Spitzer and Schwarzenegger wrote to Leavitt.

Under the program, the federal government and the states subsidize the cost of health coverage.

The new guidelines, issued in August, are designed to keep families from dropping private health insurance in exchange for cheaper or better coverage through public programs.

Under the new guidelines, when a state expands eligibility to higher-income children, it has to show it has enrolled at least 95 percent of eligible poor children in public health programs.

Democratic lawmakers and governors from both parties have said the rules are misguided and will result in more uninsured children. The administration says the rules will refocus the program on the low-income people it was intended to serve.

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Posted by healthinsurance at September 19, 2007 04:26 PM