||October 12, 2007
Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Bob Meissner, Deputy Director of Communications
Bryan Fisher, Press Secretary
Second in the Series, “CHIP-ing Away at the Myths,” Focuses on Myths about Eligibility
Series Counters False Statements against Children’s Health Care Legislation
Washington, D.C. – Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers, today released the second in a series of documents that aim to dispel the myths about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) legislation that have been propagated by the Bush Administration.
The second myth in the series, “CHIP-ing Away at the Myths,” deals with the myth of an expansion of eligibility:
* This bill does NOT change which children are eligible for CHIP. States have always had the flexibility to set CHIP eligibility at whatever level they deem appropriate for their state. CHIP is not a one-size-fits-all program, and eligibility levels vary widely from state to state. The bill preserves that flexibility.
* Claims by the President that this bill raises the CHIP eligibility level to $83,000 (400 percent of the federal of the poverty level) in annual income are unambiguously false. There isn’t a single state in the country with such a high eligibility level. One state, New York, wanted to set the eligibility standard at that level, but its request to do so was denied by the Administration.
* The CHIP bill will make it more difficult for states to set eligibility levels above 300 percent of poverty (approximately $62,000 in annual income for a family of four). States wishing to establish higher levels would receive less money for children with incomes above 300 percent of poverty than for lower-income children.
* The vast majority of the 3.8 million children who will gain coverage under this bill—more than 75 percent—have incomes below twice the poverty level. That’s $41,300 for a family of four.
“Insurance premiums for family health coverage now average more than $12,000 a year,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “These costs are simply unaffordable for millions of working families, especially those that would receive the most help for their children under this bill. It is cruel for the President to deny coverage to these kids and to offer a disingenuous reason for his veto.”
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
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