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New White House Rules Threaten NH Healthy Kids

August 23, 2007

Concord, NH - The White House has dealt a blow to a state plan to get more New Hampshire kids covered by health insurance. New Hampshire intends to expand eligibility for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) to thousands more children.

However, last week the Bush Administration informed states that, if they expand coverage to the levels that New Hampshire has approved, they will face stringent new guidelines and some form of "corrective action." Tricia Brooks is executive director of Healthy Kids, New Hampshire's S-CHIP program. She views the move as a setback for Granite State kids.

"The governor and the legislature have approved funding to enroll an additional 10,000 kids, so this certainly will complicate our ability moving forward. Folks in New Hampshire believe we need to do more, not less, to cover kids, and these actions really are definitely against the will of the people."

President Bush has criticized expansion of S-CHIP, saying it will take business away from private insurers. Brooks hopes Congress will override the new rules when it completes work on the S-CHIP reauthorization plans in September.

John Robinson, Public News Service - NH