SCHIP ON THE SHOULDER. The Children's Defense fund held a conference call for bloggers today to discuss the All Healthy Children Act, which has been introduced in the House. They've been promoting this legislation through a faux child-for-president campaign. The legislation looks at combining Medicaid for children with the State Children's Health Insurance Program to create consistent coverage in all states. (For more information on the relationship between SCHIP and Medicaid check out Kaiser.) The legislation would also create coverage for the 9 million children who "fall through the cracks" of the current two programs. These children typically fall under the category of "working poor" families -- up to 300 percent above the poverty level.

When I asked about the balance between pushing for fundamental health care reform and pushing for this reform of SCHIP and Medicaid, CDF Director Marian Wright Edelman said, "We want to have national health insurance for everybody," she said, but this was a reform they could push through now. "Why in God's name won't we do it?"

The cost of making these changes is roughly $14.8 billion a year. This is where CDF starts to lose support. Deficit hawks and the paygo system means that this money would have to come from somewhere else. Although CDF is looking for support for companion legislation in the Senate, they're shying away from presidential candidates to attempt to keep this issue nonpartisan. But, as Edelman said, "That doesn't leave a whole lot left of the Senate."

--Kay Steiger

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