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1 Gerald Prante, What Is 300 Percent of the Poverty Level 1 (2007)

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July 11, 2007
What Is 300 Percent of the Poverty Level?
SCHIP Program May Expand to Middle-Income Households
Fiscal Fact No. 91
by Gerald Prante
As Congress debates renewal of funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP),
many senators and representatives favor expanding the SCHIP program up the income scale, far above
the original targets: low-income households with children who don't quite qualify for Medicaid.
Some states are already awarding SCHIP benefits to childless adults and to families with incomes well
above the national median. Gov. Spitzer in New York has even proposed that the program there
purchase health insurance for families that earn 400 percent of the poverty level, over $82,000 for a
family of four.
The median household income in America was approximately $46,000 in 2005.
A more common threshold that many politicians are pushing is 300 percent of the poverty threshold, as
defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (See Table 1.) Even this level will
essentially convert a program for low-income people into a program for middle-income people,
possibly undermining public support for the program.
Table 1
For Many Households, 300 Percent of Poverty Level Is Above America's Median Income

Number of Individuals  300 Percent of Poverty
in Household           Threshold
1                    $30,630
2                           $41,070Q
3                           $51,5101
4                           $61,950
5                           $72,390
6                           $82,830
7                           $93,270
8                          $103,7101
'Source: Department of Health and Human Services,
Poverty Guidelines for 2007,

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