That’s right, President Bush has set new policies that would actually prevent individual states from expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The Bush administration, continuing its fight to stop states from expanding the popular Children?s Health Insurance Program, has adopted new standards that would make it much more difficult for New York, California and others to extend coverage to children in middle-income families.

The Children?s Health Insurance Program has strong support from governors of both parties, including Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Sonny Perdue of Georgia. When the Senate passed a bill to expand the program this month, 18 Republican senators voted for it, in defiance of a veto threat from Mr. Bush.

What are the limitations Bush is imposing?

In the letter sent to state health officials about 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dennis G. Smith, the director of the federal Center for Medicaid and State Operations, set a high standard for states that want to raise eligibility for the child health program above 250 percent of the poverty level.

Before making such a change, Mr. Smith said, states must demonstrate that they have ?enrolled at least 95 percent of children in the state below 200 percent of the federal poverty level? who are eligible for either Medicaid or the child health program.

Deborah S. Bachrach, a deputy commissioner in the New York State Health Department, said, ?No state in the nation has a participation rate of 95 percent.?

If a state wants to set its income limit above 250 percent of the poverty level ($51,625 for a family of four), Mr. Smith said, ?the state must establish a minimum of a one-year period of uninsurance for individuals? before they can receive public coverage.

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