N.J. defies federal government on S-CHIP

Sept. 13, 2007 at 11:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- New Jersey's Jon Corzine has become the first U.S. governor to tell President George W. Bush his state will not follow federal rules for the S-CHIP program.

The new regulations for the program -- which subsidizes health insurance for children who do not qualify for Medicaid -- would make it difficult to cover children with family incomes 2 ½ times the poverty level. In a letter to Bush, Corzine described the rules as “onerous,” The Washington Post reported.

"I am deeply concerned about the devastating impact that this misguided policy will have on our efforts to address the growing problem of the uninsured," Corzine said.

New Jersey extends its FamilyCare program to those with incomes 350 percent of the poverty level, or $72,275. Corzine said the federal regulations might leave 10,000 children without health insurance.

Critics say overly generous state programs encourage families who can afford private coverage to drop it in favor of government insurance. A White House spokesman said New Jersey can spend its own money on FamilyCare but should not rely on the federal government.

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