Independent healthcare experts and even influential Republicans in Congress are greeting with a grain of salt the Bush administration’s decision to support greater funding of the State Children’s Health Insurance Plans in its new budget.
An independent policy analytical group further contends that the hiked funding is still not enough to maintain the program, and would only be funded through wholesale cuts in the Medicaid program.
Indeed, even a key Republican in the Senate questions the administration’s new policy, and is asking the administration to “account for the dramatic shift” in the administration’s estimate from $4.2 billion over 5 years to $19.7 billion over 5 years.
“SCHIP reauthorization failed in past year because the administration insisted the program didn’t require as much money as some of us said it would,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee said in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“A lot of members of Congress relied on the administration’s estimates,” Grassley explained. But, it turns out, he said, “that the estimates apparently weren’t so reliable.”
In his letter, Grassley said, “I don’t know how or why they revised their estimate by more than 400 percent in a few months.”
He noted that “it’s good they got religion, but I wish they’d seen the light last fall. We might have avoided a lot of time and trouble and gotten far better policies instilled in the program.”