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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency's website states, "Established in 1977, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) serves the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) populations. CMS employs approximately 4,100 employees, of which 2,700 are located at our headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, and the remainder in Washington, D.C. and 10 regional offices nationwide." [1]

On February 20, 2004, President George W. Bush announced his intention to nominate Mark McClellan of the District of Columbia to be the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. [2] McClellan was subsequently confirmed to the post. [3]

Hiring Private PR Firms

In May 2005, CMS issued a request for proposals for its outreach work over the next five years. "Under its Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity policy (IDIQ), CMS selects a roster of 'preferred' agencies and will hear pitches from only them for up to five years. The incumbents are Ketchum, Ogilvy PR, GCI Group, and American Education Development," reported PR Week. A main priority of the new contract is "raising awareness of reforms mandated by the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act," with other outreach work including "working with state health insurance assistance programs, distributing an annual Medicare & You booklet to beneficiaries, and overseeing the Regional Education About Choices in Health program." [4]

According to the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform Minority Office, CMS paid the following amounts per year, for contracts with major private public relations firms: [5]

  • $0 from 1997 through 1999
  • $988,000 in 2000
  • $3,657,000 in 2001
  • $2,499,000 in 2002
  • $31,202,646 in 2003
  • $55,947,896 in 2004

In August 2006 PR Week reported that Ketchum, Ogilvy, Porter Novelli, and Weber Shandwick had been selected by the department "to serve as its primary communicators over the next five years as the department seeks to overhaul its image and outreach efforts." [6]

"The Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract (IDIQ) puts the firms in a position to compete against one another for task orders issued by CMS, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, when work is needed. The combined contracts for the work done by all of the firms over the five-year period will have a cap of $300 million. Actual contracts will depend on congressional funding," PR Week reported. [7]

State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a national program in the United States designed for families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, yet cannot afford to buy private insurance. The program was created to address the growing problem of children in the United States without health insurance. At its creation in 1997, SCHIP was the largest expansion of health insurance coverage for children in the United States since Medicaid began in the 1960s. The statutory authority for SCHIP is under Title XXI of the Social Security Act.

SCHIP covered over 6 million children at some point during Federal fiscal year 2005 and every state has an approved state plan. The program's success can be attributed the flexibility allowed to states and the enhanced match that is paid to states. Some states have received section 1115 demonstration authority to use SCHIP funds to cover the parents of children receiving benefits from both SCHIP and Medicaid, pregnant women, and other adults.

Reauthorization

SCHIP requires Congress to reauthorize its status to be able to continue the program. In 2007, a proposal to increase the cigarette tax in order to pay for SCHIP was expected to receive bipartisan and bicameral support. Some conservative legislators opposed the plan because it was a tax increase, "A tax is a tax is a tax," Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said. "We don’t need more taxes." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) commented, "Most people don’t like taxes, but if [people] said, 'What’s your favorite tax?' [the tobacco levy] would probably be it."[1]

A March 2007 test vote on raising cigarette taxes revealed unexpected supporters and opponents of the tax, as Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and other conservatives voted for the potential tax increase, while Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) opposed it. [2]

Contact Information

Website: http://www.cms.hhs.gov

Address:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Elana Schor. Cigarette taxes may pay for children’s healthcare, to conservatives’ chagrin. The Hill. June 21, 2007.
  2. Elana Schor. Cigarette taxes may pay for children’s healthcare, to conservatives’ chagrin. The Hill. June 21, 2007.

External articles

External resources

Wikipedia also has an article on SCHIP. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.