Saturday, October 10, 2009
Children's health insurance: How much aid is enough?
By Richard Wolf
Posted by Michael Rivezzo
The view of Midtown Manhattan rising majestically above the Hudson River doesn't get much better than from here. And the cost of living doesn't get much higher.
It's little wonder, then, that Anna Velazquez says she and her husband, José, can't afford private health insurance for their two children on a $57,000 family income.
Lucky for them, they live in New Jersey. The state has the nation's highest income eligibility level for the Children's Health Insurance Program, a federal-state partnership created in 1997 to help families who earn too much to get Medicaid. Under CHIP, which will expire Oct. 1 unless President Bush and Congress agree to renew it, families of four can get coverage with incomes up to $72,275 — 350% of the federal poverty level. The Velazquezes pay $18.50 a month per child; taxpayers cover the rest.
"What would I do without health insurance?" says Velazquez, 39, who works at a health center. "I wouldn't be able to sleep at night, worrying about my kids."
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