Gov. Patrick Testifies in DC on SCHIP

Click here for Gov. Deval Patrick’s testimony today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington DC on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This morning, Governor Patrick was in DC to testify in support of overturning the Bush Administration’s August 17 2007 guidance on SCHIP. Last August, HHS issued new regulations on SCHIP implementation that will have hindered states’ ability to provide health coverage to children who would otherwise be uninsured. Governor Patrick joined the chief executives from Washington, Ohio, Mississippi, and Georgia in calling on Congress to roll back the Bush Administration’s actions.

Since its passage in 1997, SCHIP has been hugely successful in helping millions of kids across the country access health coverage. Here in Massachusetts, 90,000 children receive SCHIP benefits. If the August 17 regulations are not turned back, 4,500 of those kids who are in between 250-300% of the federal poverty level ($53,016-$63,612 for a family of four) may lose their coverage.

Here’s a bit of Patrick’s testimony:

So, I want to be as clear as I can be. Without continued federal support for and flexibility within the SCHIP program, Healthcare Reform in Massachusetts and elsewhere is in jeopardy. Given the benefits to children, to families and to our economy, and the many salient lessons to be learned from Massachusetts and other states on solutions that could work nationally, it is hard for me to understand why we would seriously consider limiting or reducing the reach of either the Commonwealth’s agreements with CMS or the SCHIP program as a whole.

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