SENATOR MURKOWSKI SUPPORTS REAUTHORIZATION OF THE STATE CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today joined her colleagues in the Senate to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). SCHIP provides comprehensive health care coverage to low-income and uninsured children.
“SCHIP provides vital health insurance to one of the most vulnerable segments of our population – low income children,” said Senator Murkowski. “The action that we have taken today will ensure that health coverage will continue for millions of children.”
SCHIP was enacted in 1997 and originally allowed states to provide health coverage for families earning up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The authorization and the funding stream for the program would have expired on September 30, 2007 without legislative action. The bill passed today allows states to expand coverage to children from families earning up to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level – this is equivalent to $77,460 for a family of four in Alaska.
The reauthorization extends coverage for 6.6 million children currently enrolled in the program and expands the program to include an additional 3.3 million eligible children. In addition, the legislation establishes a new allotment formula to determine each state’s share of annual SCHIP appropriations. Under this new formula, Alaska will receive nearly $36.8 million in funding in 2008, up from $11.5 million in 2007.
The SCHIP reauthorization bill also provides $10 million for outreach and enrollment purposes to Native Americans and Alaska Native children and appropriates an additional $200 million to strengthen children’s dental services and coverage.