In Washington, a showdown is looming over of President Bushs threatened veto of expanding the SCHIP (State Childrens Health Insurance Program) program. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 265-159 in favor a Senate compromise of the bill, which received substantial bi-partisan support. As syndicated columnist, David Broder, recently pointed out column Bushs stance couldnt be more unpopular and
Republican legislators who voted against the expansion could be looking for new jobs after the next election.
While this scenario makes for good political drama and choosing sides on the debate isnt too difficult, how effective has the states version of the program, Louisiana Childrens Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP), and how many kids benefit from it? Governor Blanco, in a press release from last week, has a quick answer: the program works and more Louisiana kids now have health care.
"Louisiana's SCHIP program, LaCHIP, was designed to protect those who are at the greatest risk," Governor Blanco said. "It provides coverage for more than 100,000 children in Louisiana who would otherwise be uninsured. Under LaCHIP, the percentage of uninsured low-income children in the state has dropped from 31.6 to 12.5 percent, Blanco said. While much progress has been made, Louisiana still has 91,000 uninsured children and all of them deserve access to quality health care.
In case youre wondering, a family of four qualifies for LaCHIP if their familys income is 200 percent$3442 per monthabove the federal poverty level. In July, Blanco signed a bill, Act 407, which expands the state program to include children whose families earn 300 percent above the poverty level.