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Turning $1 into $4 Is Magic - When it Comes to Health Care for Idaho Kids

July 23, 2007

One dollar is worth $4 for Idaho when it comes to the State Children's Health Insurance Program. For each dollar the state spends, it gets four in federal funding. It's a multiplication equation that could extend health insurance to some of the state's 47,000 uninsured kids, if Congress reauthorizes the program. The U.S. House takes up the issue this week but President Bush is threatening a veto because he doesn't want to expand coverage. Ed Shelleby with the Children's Defense Fund says the proposal is bi-partisan, with many members of Congress saying they designed the expansion at the request of their constituents.

"The Children's Defense Fund has done polls of the American public and when they find out there are nine million children uninsured, they are outraged. They can't believe it."

President Bush wants to scale the system back, not expand it. Shelleby is surprised by the veto threat because President Bush voiced dedication in the past to making sure children have access to health care.

"In 2004, he said that he wanted to make sure that we expand S-CHIP and make sure that low-income children are able to get insurance. And now he has the opportunity to do that, and he has gone back on that pledge."

Statistics on Idaho uninsured children are online at www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/idaho-schip.pdf.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID