In spite of Democrat majorities in both chambers, the U.S. Senate and House are having a tough time agreeing on how much they want to spend — $35 billion (Senate) or $50 billion (House) — to expand SCHIP: the federal program that provides health insurance for children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Although funding for North Carolina’s own SCHIP program, NC Health Choice, is assured, the same cannot be said of NC Kids Care. NC Kids Care is an expanded SCHIP program that would extend taxpayer-subsidized insurance to kids from families who earn up to 300 percent of federal poverty level — $61,950 for a family of four.
In August 2007, the Bush administration issued a new rule that requires states to cover 95 percent of low income children (200 percent of federal poverty level) before using federal funding to cover children from families who earn more. Under this new policy, NC Health Choice would have to reach a 95 percent participation rate before the state would be eligible to receive federal funding for NC Kids Care.