It’s Cover the Uninsured Week. That’s a goal that people can get behind, but the Week’s proponents are pushing for an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which is up for renewal in Congress this year. Grace Marie Turner of the Galen Institute has some interesting observations on this means to the goal:
- First, if Washington pours $75 billion into SCHIP over the next five years, as congressional leaders propose, it will be well on its way to creating a generation of children who think that the place you get health insurance is through the government.
- This expansion means that taxpayers will be paying for coverage that could have been bought with private dollars. Jonathan Gruber of MIT found that at least 60 percent of children enrolled in SCHIP previously had private coverage, strongly suggesting that public programs are crowding-out private insurance.
- And expansion of government health programs has an impact in driving up the cost of private health insurance. Here’s why: Actuary Mark Litow of Milliman Consultants and Actuaries argues that expanding government programs puts added pressure on private health spending.
The reauthorization appears to be an interesting battle between Congress and the White House. The AMA News explains that
Last month, the House and Senate both narrowly passed budget resolutions — roadmaps for federal spending — creating a pathway for a five-year, $75 billion reauthorization of SCHIP. Both resolutions add $50 billion over five years to the existing $25 billion in SCHIP funding. But during the actual appropriations process, both chambers must offset the new spending with new revenues or cuts to meet budget rules, said staff members for the Senate Finance Committee and the chair of the House Budget Committee. When it comes to specific plans, some Democrats are supporting five-year reauthorizations with eligibility as high as 400% of the poverty level and as much as $85 million in funding.But President Bush — in an attempt to refocus SCHIP on low-income children — proposed a $30 billion, five-year reauthorization. This would fund coverage for children in families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level.
But President Bush — in an attempt to refocus SCHIP on low-income children — proposed a $30 billion, five-year reauthorization. This would fund coverage for children in families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level.