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40 states to lose unspent child health insurance money

Forty states to forfeit health care funds for poor children

In this story:

Program created in 1997

Money can be used on outreach efforts

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



NEW YORK (CNN) -- Forty states stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to them to pay for health insurance for children in low-income families, the White House said Sunday.

Only 55 percent of the $4.2 billion in the program has been spent, and only 10 states have used their full allotment of the funds, said a White House spokesman. The story was first reported in Sunday editions of The New York Times.

The 40 states have until September 30 to spend the money. After that, whatever is left over is expected to be handed over to the 10 states that have spent all their money, though the spokesman said several of the states are seeking to figure out a way to keep the excess.

Program created in 1997

The Children's Health Insurance Program was created in 1997 to provide coverage for the estimated 10-11 million children whose families are too well off to qualify for Medicaid, but too poor to buy health insurance on the private market.

But the program has been slow to get off the ground in most states. Only New York, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina and Pennsylvania have spent all they were given, the spokesman said.

Money can be used on outreach efforts

About half the unspent money -- more than $1 billion -- represented funds that had been directed to California and Texas, where Gov. George W. Bush has made children's issues a campaign issue in his quest for the presidency.

In an effort to attract more children into the efforts, the federal government last summer released new regulations allowing the money to be used on outreach efforts and on policies for parents.

But that effort was not enough to use up the money, which came from funds allocated for 1998. Under the program, all 50 states will still get money during the coming two years for which the program has been funded.



RELATED STORIES:
Candidate Clinton wants to expand health-care eligibility for children
July 19, 2000
Low-income families lose health insurance moving from welfare to work, report says
June 19, 2000
Study indicates cost of prescription drugs higher for seniors without insurance
April 10, 2000
Clinton proposes extensive plan to extend health care coverage
January 19, 2000
Health care for the wired and uninsured
October 12, 1999
Who are the uninsured?
October 4, 1999
U.S. graded on well-being of its children
July 9, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Covering Kids Home
State Children's Health Insurance Program
Medicaid Information



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