2008 “I’m Not in Congress.” —Dino Rossi on Children’s Health Care
posted by October 25 at 15:00 PMon
So, as I Slogged a bit earlier, when I asked Dino Rossi—who had just finished slamming Gov. Gregoire for not doing enough about health care costs—if he thought Congress should override President Bush’s veto of expanded health care coverage for poor kids (SCHIP), he told me, “I’m not in Congress.”
I pushed for an answer (which I didn’t get) by pointing out that the state legislature (at Gov. Christine Gregoire’s insistence) passed a bipartisan bill in Olympia last year that expanded children’s health coverage by $64 million over two years—adding 38,500 children to state Medicaid coverage. If the SCHIP bill at the federal level goes down, the state’s expanded coverage for children would be jeopardized.
The bill raised the eligibility standard from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 250 percent (and 300 percent by 2009). For a family of three, 300 percent of the federal poverty level is $51,500.
This expansion—covering 604,000 children in total at an overall cost of $1.6 billion over two years—is partly dependent on the SCHIP bill at the federal level, which would bring in about $90 million over two years according to the State Dept. of Social and Human Services.
So, a vote to override Bush’s veto would save a bipartisan bill passed in Olympia last year by sending $90 million our way. Even GOP Rep. Dave Reichert voted to override. You’d think someone who’s running for governor would have an opinion about $90 million in aid for children’s health care.