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How to stretch the federal high-risk health coverage pool budget

Wall Street Journal Health Blog, June 1, 2010

A federal high-risk pool is designed for people with a pre-existing condition and who have not had health insurance for six months. But while as many as 7 million people may qualify for participation, the money allocated may be enough to cover only 200,000 of them, according to an analysis released by the National Institute for Health Care Reform. Healthcare overhaul legislation set aside $5 billion to fund the pool, which is only temporary. But "the major constraint on policy makers at all levels is the very limited funding for the program relative to the population in need," the NIHCR analysis says. Medicare’s actuary has already predicted that funding for the program will run out by 2011 or 2012. The analysis says policy makers have two options, the Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports.