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  • Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Governor Gregoire: Bush Administration Changes Will Leave Washington Children Without Care

For Immediate Release: August 27, 2007

Governor urges administration to reconsider new restrictions that would undermine state efforts to cover all kids by 2010

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today criticized the recent federal restrictions that will make it more difficult for Washington to make sure all children have access to health coverage. The Bush administration, in a letter to state Medicaid directors, said that the federal government will impose additional requirements for children’s coverage.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, Governor Gregoire said:

“In Washington, we know that taking care of our kids not only makes good economic sense, but it is the right thing to do. This is why I have led an effort in our state to make sure that, by 2010, all Washington kids have access to quality, affordable health care coverage and care. We know that healthy kids learn better and are better able to become successful adults. Good, routine care costs much less than emergency room care that is inevitable when illness goes untreated.”

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On August 17, National Medicaid Director Dennis Smith notified State Medicaid Directors by letter that he was setting new standards for states that wanted to increase SCHIP eligibility above 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The four major changes are:

  • States must include cost sharing that includes co-payments and premiums that more closely approximate the cost of private insurance.
  • Imposing at least a one-year waiting period without insurance for children prior to receiving SCHIP coverage.
  • Requiring states to show that they have already insured at least 95% of children in families below 200% of FPL.
  • Requiring states to show that children in the income range covered by Medicaid and SCHIP that are insured through private employers has not decreased by more than two percentage points over the past five years.