U.S. Questions California's CHIP Program; Milwaukee Schools Face Rising Retiree Health Care Costs

News outlets report on California's children's health program, health care costs for Milwaukee's schools and indigent care in Minnesota.

Los Angeles Times: "Federal health officials are casting doubt on a last-gasp funding scheme by California to keep nearly 700,000 children from being yanked from its government health insurance program for the working poor. U.S. health officials say the plan adopted by the state during the final days of the legislative session in September and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may not meet regulatory muster. As a result, children's health advocates are warning that by the end of next year, hundreds of thousands of poor youngsters could lose their coverage -- even as the Obama administration continues its push for universal healthcare" (Bailey, 12/14).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The Milwaukee School Board has spent 20 years ignoring a 'fiscal time bomb' in the form of generous and unfunded health insurance benefits for retired MPS teachers and staff that will cost the district $5 billion by 2016, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. On Monday, the president of the conservative institute that conducted the report, George Lightbourn, said the study raises serious questions about the School Board's ability to provide financial oversight of the district and that it lends support to changing the governance structure of MPS" (Richards, 12/14).

Star Tribune: "The Pawlenty administration confirmed Monday that moving thousands of people from a health program for the indigent to MinnesotaCare next year would result in funding problems for MinnesotaCare as early as 2011. An influx of enrollees would cause the state's Health Care Access Fund, which funds MinnesotaCare, to be in deficit by July 2011, said Cal Ludeman, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services." The statement was made at a state House committee hearing on a possible "solution to the proposed termination on March 1 of General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC)," which "covers 36,000 childless Minnesota adults who earn less than $7,800 a year" (Yee, 12/15).

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