Gov. Corzine, governor of MY state, New Jersey, has announced that he will not comply with new federal guidelines that bar states from expanding health-care coverage under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP):
His move escalated the growing confrontation between a number of states and the administration over the new rules imposed on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). They have been criticized as unfair and overreaching by children's advocates and politicians of both parties, but Corzine's declaration marks the first time a governor has openly vowed to defy them.
The rules, spelled out in an Aug. 17 letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, restrict efforts to enroll children whose families earn more than 2 1/2 times the federal poverty level, or $51,625 for a family of four.
In a letter to Bush on Wednesday, Corzine called the new rules "onerous," said they go beyond federal law and predicted that they would deny coverage to as many as 10,000 New Jersey children.
"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," he wrote.
Corzine added that the state, which covers about 122,000 kids in its program, known as FamilyCare, "will continue to provide health care to children in families with income up to 350 percent" of the federal poverty level -- or $72,275 for a family of four. He also wrote that he is prepared to file a lawsuit challenging the new rules.
Among the rules to which Corzine and others object is a requirement that the program be available to children from middle-class families only if they have had no health coverage for at least a year. Another change would prevent the program from being opened to middle-income families unless at least 95 percent of eligible children from families whose earnings are less than double the poverty level ($41,300 for a family of four) are already enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP. Critics say no state can meet that requirement.
Gov. Corzine, you rock.