A national healthcare advocacy group released a report today showing the potential economic impact to Iowa if the federal program to provide health insurance to uninsured kids is reauthorized. Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families U.S.A., talked with reporters via conference call about the “State Children’s Health Insurance Program” (SCHIP).
Pollack says the report on Iowa shows that if 50-billion new dollars are made available for the program, the state would receive 337-million dollars in new money over five years. He says that’s important, as Iowa has more than 51,000 children who’re uninsured. The program was started in 1997 and must now be approved again by Congress.
Pollack says if the program gets new money, it has to be paid for either through new revenues or by cutbacks in other programs — which he says will be the biggest challenge to getting the program renewed. The report says Iowa would benefit well beyond the initial new money. The report says the new money would result in almost 149-million dollars in increased business activity, it would result in 55-million dollars in increased wages and result in more than 19-hundred additional jobs being created in the state.
Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines, took part in today’s conference call.
“This is something we should do, Boswell said, “So I’m very excited and enthused that this increase is going to take place. I realize we got a challenge. We got to find the money….I believe it will happen, I’m very supportive of it and no doubt the rest of the delegation is too.”
Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says there are efforts underway to address the funding issue. Braley says information just out today appears to indicate that the funding for the SCHIP program would be combined with the doctor payment fix that’s part of the American Medical Association’s campaign to take care of problems that are preventing some doctors from accepting new Medicare patients.
If the new money is approved, the State of Iowa would have to come up with 100-million dollars in matching funds. Braley says state officials have already made great strides in covering the uninsured. Braley says finding the new money would be a “very, very difficult challenge,” but he says the governor and legislature would work very hard to find the funds to expand the coverage of the uninsured.
Both the Senate and the House have already passed budget resolutions setting aside the 50-billion dollars, and Braley says the committee that works the two plans together will be key in finding a way to get it done. See a copy of the report at the Families U-S-A’s website.