Mar 2, 2007  |     |   General

Good Afternoon,

I know that the below information is lengthy and maybe not of interest. But when you have time, I think that you would find it informative.
The families that the Open Door Mission serve will be affected by the lack of funding for this program. The lack of healthcare insurance for those underinsured and noninsured continues to be a growing issue in the homeless and nearhomeless population. KIDS CONNECTION send a staff directly to the Open Door Mission to assist families with the paperwork and understanding of services. Kids Connection is a valuable partnership.

Candace

ISSUE: Legislative Resolution 10 (LR10), currently in the Legislature’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee, calls upon Nebraska’s congressional members to ensure the timely reauthorization of the federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). SCHIP, which is called Kid’s Connection in Nebraska, provides health care coverage to children whose working parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance.

In Fiscal Year 2008, Nebraska is expected to have a shortfall of over $14 million if SCHIP is reauthorized but funded at 2007 levels. The result: children will be moved from SCHIP into the Medicaid program which will cost the state more (federal matches for SCHIP are higher than for Medicaid). Or, the state will not allocate dollars to make up the shortfall in SCHIP dollars which will result in program cut backs, for example, reducing already low eligibility rates, eliminating benefits, or cutting provider payments; all of which will limit or deny health care for Nebraska’s children.

Over the past 10 years, Nebraska’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), called Kid’s Connection, and its children’s Medicaid programs have made great strides in helping children receive needed health care by providing coverage to low-income children in households with incomes less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Line (approximately $37,000 per year for a family of four). Kid’s Connection provides health care coverage to children whose working parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance. We can and must do more to protect the health of Nebraska’s children.

Without Sufficient Federal Funding, More Nebraska Will Become Uninsured.

  • In Fiscal Year 2008, Nebraska is expected to have a shortfall of over $14 million if SCHIP is reauthorized but funded at 2007 levels.
  • State funding will not be allocated to make up for that shortfall. Instead, the result will be cut backs to the program by, for example, reducing the already low eligibility rates, eliminating benefits, or cutting provider payments.
    Every Child in the U.S. Should Have Health Care
  • Nearly 30,000 Nebraska children have no health care coverage which is vital to their healthy development. In 2005, Kid’s Connection and Medicaid served nearly 137,000 children – 30% of all Nebraska children who otherwise would have had no health care coverage.
  • Without coverage a child is more likely to go without immunizations and primary care which often results in visits to the emergency room. Additionally a child is more likely to miss school.
  • According to a Nov. 2006 poll by Lake Research Partners, 82% of American voters support allocating additional funds to SCHIP. Of these, two-thirds would like to increase funding enough to cover more children.
  • Most of the children on Medicaid and Kid’s Connection come from households with a working parent. Indeed, over 63% of uninsured Nebraskans are employed. Yet, increasingly, these families are not offered coverage through their jobs, or cannot afford coverage.
  • Since its inception, SCHIP has reduced (nationally) the percentage of low-income children who are uninsured by a third.

Kid’s Connection Is Cost-Effective

  • Children account for 64% of Nebraska’s Medicaid population, but represent only 25% of spending.
  • Covering a child costs the state only approximately $235 a month.
  • Covering kids through Medicaid and Kid’s Connection is more cost-effective than coverage in the private sector. A national study found that children covered by Medicaid had a cost 31% lower than children with similar health care needs in the private sector.

Sincerely,Candace L. GregoryPresident/CEO
Open Door Mission
2828 N. 23rd St. E.
Omaha, NE 68110
402-422-1111 ext 1502