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Childrens Health Program Covering More Adults Than Children

Washington- Bush administration proposal was met with opposition as Children's hospital patients marched on Capitol Hill. They fear the proposal will limit the eligibility of low-income families with sick children for federal support through the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

The families who took to the streets in Washington put a face to the policy debate on the floor of Congress. They share two things in common: their children got sick and they couldn't afford health insurance. They describe it as every parent's worst nightmare and hope to help other families avoid it by fighting for Medicaid legislation. And they came armed with stories of survival.

State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) seems to cover more adults than children. This waiver from the Bush administration is a break from its administration position. SCHIP was initially intended as a children health insurance program.

SCHIP funnels funds through states to families that cannot afford health insurance but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

"The children and families are here as personal eye witnesses to how important children's hospitals are," said Lawrence McAndrews, head of the non-profit group the National Association of Children's Hospitals that arranged the Washington trip for the child advocates and their families.

At 5 years old, Joseph Greenwood's heart failed. After a complicated heart transplant and medical bills that reached the lifetime insurance cap, his family -- an upper-middle class family of 4 -- turned to Medicaid.

Fourteen states now cover adults through the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Wisconsin is one of them. On May 30, the state got a Medicaid waiver that would allow it to continue that practice.

The coverage of adults through the insurance program has become an important point of contention. The program subsidizes health insurance coverage for more t
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