May 10,2007

Sen. Grassley Says Contents of New CBO Paper Underscore Importance of Congress Staying Focused on Providing SCHIP Coverage to Children in Low-Income Families


TO: Reporters and EditorsFR: Jill Kozeny, 202/224-1308for Senator GrassleyRE: new CBO paper on SCHIPDA: May 10, 2007

Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, issued thecomment below regarding a paper issued today by the Congressional Budget Office on the StateChildren’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.

The new CBO paper says: “For every 100 children who enroll as a result of SCHIP, thereis a corresponding reduction in private coverage of between 25 and 50 children. ... Changes tothe program may generate different effects on private coverage ... ; in general, expanding theprogram to children in higher-income families is likely to generate more of an offsettingreduction in private coverage (and therefore less of a net reduction in uninsurance) thanexpanding the program to more children in low-income families.”

Senator Grassley’s comment:

“The main goal of SCHIP reauthorization ought to be increasing the number oflow-income kids who are covered by health insurance. This report tells us that Congress needsto make sure that whatever it does, it should actually result in more kids having health insurance,rather than simply shifting children from private to public health insurance. The report alsoalerts Congress to the risks for all families of any new SCHIP policies that would erode theability of working parents to access private health care coverage for their families. These factorsshould keep lawmakers focused on the fundamentals with SCHIP, which are providing healthinsurance coverage to children in low-income families. If we let other agendas get in the way,then we will miss a real opportunity to improve the health and well-being of financiallydisadvantaged kids.”

The CBO paper was prepared at the request of the Chairman and Ranking Member of theSenate Finance Committee. According to the CBO, the paper summarizes the key features ofSCHIP, provides information on historical trends in enrollment and federal spending,summarizes the evidence on the effects of the program on children's insurance coverage, anddiscusses key issues that are likely to arise as the Congress considers reauthorization of theprogram this year.

The paper is available at, or by calling 202/226-2809.