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Bill to Expand the Child Health Care Program

Just what would take place under the bill that passed in the House to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), up for a vote in the Senate and then sure to get a veto from President Bush? Here are some of the claims and the corresponding facts:

The claim: The proposal would encourage families to replace public insurance for private insurance.

The facts: The Congressional Budget Office projects that about 3.8 million people would be insured because of the bill and about 2 million further would shift from private coverage to public coverage.

The claim: The proposal would permit coverage of families earning $83,000.

The facts: The bill essentially sets an income ceiling of three times the poverty rate for a family of four, $61,950. Further than that, the federal government would not pay a state its full SCHIP match, which averages about 70 percent.

The claim: The bill would make it easier for children of unlawful immigrants to participate in Medicaid.

The facts: Presently, states are required to look for proof of U.S. citizenship prior to they provide Medicaid coverage, except for in emergencies. The states now need applicants to show documents such as birth certificates or passports to prove U.S. citizenship and nationality. The bill would permit applicants to submit a Social Security number in its place.

Michael J. Astrue, commissioner for the Social Security Administration, said that matching a Social Security number with an individual does not permit officials to confirm whether someone is a U.S. citizen.

The claim: The proposed 61-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes is a tax on the poor.

The facts: According to a latest analysis by the National Center for Health Statistics, smoking rates are higher for those who live in poverty or near poverty than among wealthier people. Moreover, a more dated analysis cited by the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank, states that two-thirds of federal tobacco taxes come from those earning less than $40,000 a year.



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