August 16,2007

Grassley, Roberts call on Administration to take consistent approach with SCHIP eligibility

WASHINGTON — Sens. Chuck Grassley and Pat Roberts today called on the Administration to reject a request from the state of New York to allow New York’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – which is a federal-state program designed to get health insurance to low-income children – to cover families with annual incomes as high as $82,600.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Grassley and Roberts pointed out the irony of the Administration’s criticism of the Senate-passed legislation to reauthorize SCHIP for “expanding” SCHIP to incomes of $82,600 a year when, in fact, the only state even attempting to make eligible that income level is New York, and the only way New York can expand eligibility to $82,600 is if the Administration approves the state’s application for a waiver.

The Grassley-Roberts letter says the Administration should disapprove of the New York proposal because it is inconsistent with the intent of SCHIP to provide health insurance to children from low-income families.
In July, senators voted 68 to 31 for bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the SCHIP program. Grassley and Roberts backed the legislation as members of the Finance Committee.

The text of the letter they sent is below, along with the text of letters they sent earlier this summer regarding Administration-approved waivers for states to expand SCHIP eligibility to higher income levels and adults. A copy of Secretary Michael Leavitt’s July 31, 2007 letter is posted with this news release at