CMS TO COVER STATES' SCHIP SHORTFALLS, NO CHILD WILL GO UNCOVERED
No child enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in America will be at risk for losing services because their state has run out of money to administer the program, Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced today.
CMS, the agency that oversees the program, is making extra money available to states whose SCHIP funds are exhausted.
“This is another step in our efforts to get the most bang for the buck from the available SCHIP dollars, so that states can get the support they need to cover all children enrolled in the program,” said Dr. McClellan.
States have three years in which to spend each year’s SCHIP allotment. At the end of that three year period, many states have unspent funds. Those funds are then redistributed to states that have exhausted their allotments. (This year’s reallocation is of unused funds earmarked for states in 2003.) This year, however, the amount of surplus funds was only $173 million, far short of the $456 million that was needed to keep every SCHIP program running.
To avoid interruption in access to health care, the Bush Administration asked Congress for additional funds, which were granted as part of the new Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) signed into law by the President on February 8.
CMS began distributing the special grant funds to 12 shortfall states and American territories today. The notice of the reallotment of SCHIP funds, together with the special DRA funds, appears in today’s Federal Register.
States and territories that would have exhausted their FY 2003 SCHIP funds will receive these redistributed funds and the special DRA grants:
Illinois , $117,492,173;
Iowa , $6,108,982;
Maryland , $13,710,685;
Massachusetts , $21,905,233;
Minnesota , $20,056,408;
Mississippi , $73,582,073;
Missouri , $7,954,769;
Nebraska , $15,743,197;
New Jersey , $105,570,453;
North Carolina $2,811,733;
Rhode Island , $66,099,706; and,
South Dakota , $544,536.
Puerto Rico , $4,389,384;
Guam , $167,717;
Virgin Islands , $124,590;
American Samoa , $57,503; and,
Northern Mariana Islands , $52,711.
SCHIP was enacted with bipartisan support in 1997 as a state/federal partnership program. All states administer an SCHIP program which is intended to provide health coverage to otherwise uninsured children whose families earn too much for traditional Medicaid, but not enough to afford employer-sponsored or private sector policies. Currently, over 6.1 million children are enrolled in SCHIP.