New uninsured stats may influence SCHIP-seniors funding battle

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The latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of uninsured in the U.S. climbed by 2.2 million. Some experts believe the figures will increase support for expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Congress still has to reconcile House and Senate bills that reauthorize and expand SCHIP. Nursing home groups strongly criticize the House version because it trims Medicare payments to long-term care providers. The Senate's version does not call for funding to be redirected, setting up a showdown that could cost long-term care providers nearly $3 billion in reimbursements, they say.

The percentage of children who are uninsured has increased two years in a row after five years of decline, according to the Census Bureau figures. They also showed that the number of senior citizens living in poverty fell from 3.6 million in 2005 to 3.4 million in 2006.

The Census report is available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf.