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Childrens Health Program Covering More Adults Than Children

han 6 million people, including about 639,000 adults.

A bill renewing and enhancing the State Children's Health Insurance Program is due to be referred next week to the full Senate by the Finance Committee. Congress will consider renewing the politically popular program before it expires on Sept. 30.

Some lawmakers, particularly Republicans, have said the coming legislation should refocus the program on children at 200 percent of poverty or below _ $34,340 for a family of three. They say that insuring adults takes money that is needed for poor children instead.

While others want the program to be expanded by $50 billion, reduce bureaucracy for immigrant children applicants and give incentives to states to reach out to uninsured. With these measures it can close the gap of the three million eligible children who remain uninsured.

National Association of Children's Hospitals supports reauthorization and increased funding for the SCHIP. NACH head McAndrews hopes the SCHIP legislation provisions are approved so that "all children are covered with proper policy matched with appropriate funding."

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that the Bush administration "is having a hard time getting its act together." Grassley said, "On the one hand, the administration, like many members of Congress, doesn't believe this program should cover adults. On the other hand, the administration has approved and continues to approve adult coverage waivers." Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said, "There are a lot of ideological statements being made about how (SCHIP) should and should not work, but in practice, the administration is continuing to approve state waivers that run counter to their stated concerns."

Congressional Democrats propose to amend eligibility requirements to include families with an income 250% above the poverty line and add additional funding from $5 billi
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