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Spitzer Strikes Back at White House Effort to “Chip Away” at S-CHIP

September 12, 2007

New York, NY – In August, the White House made a preemptive strike against the federally-funded State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and now Governor Spitzer is striking back. Congress has yet to pass an extension of S-CHIP, but new rules handed down by the administration are preventing New York from covering more kids under the program. An angry Spitzer met with New York's congressional delegation earlier this week to announce litigation and to protest what he called bad faith negotiations.

"They simply do not want kids to be insured. They have put forth poison pill negotiating obligations that make it impossible for any state, let alone New York, to satisfy the obligations and the requests of CMS."

Under the new rules, the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service has instituted strict enrollment requirements, which no state has ever historically been able to meet.

Jennifer Marino-Rojas with the Children's Defense Fund of New York says the federal denial also imposes a dangerous delay.

"New York had put forward only a six month waiting period rather than one year. We do not believe a child should have to wait one year for health coverage."

The White House says S-CHIP is unfair competition for private insurance companies. Marino-Rojas says there's been strong bipartisan protest over the new rules, which would exclude 9 million children from health insurance coverage.

"Bills were passed in both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support, and we think that is a milestone. This is an issue that affects everybody across the country."

Robert Knight/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NY