Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bush Takes Back Money Set Aside for Poor Kids

There is nothing easier than stealing candy from a baby... or its healthcare. The Bush Administration is taking back $1.8 billion in funding for the State Child Insurance Program (SCHIPS) allocated to states to help poor children get medical insurance. States will forfeit the federal money that they have been unable to spend for the program when the current fiscal year ends tomorrow. Many state have large amounts of unused CHIP funds, but it is not because of lack of need. In fact, most states have thousands of children on the waiting list to receive CHIP benefits. States like Montana will have to give back its $8.8 million for the program because the state has not been able to come up with mandatory 20% state matching funding. Unless each state foots 20 cents for every 80 cents received in federal funding, the state loses the money. So many states are so hard strapped for cash that they can't meet the federal funding matching requirement. The Bush administration has the ability to extend the date for allowing states to come up with matching funding, or congress could temporarily waive the matching requirement, but no attempt to do either has been considered. So, instead of health insurance for poor children, Bush will be able to give more tax breaks to Halliburton. Bravo Mr. Bush.

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