Bush Has Good Reasons to Veto SCHIP Expansion

Published October 16, 2007

“Showdown Looms as Child Health Care Passes,” (Sept. 28) does not address the problems with the current State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)–problems which explain the president’s rationale for vetoing it. Under the current SCHIP, two-thirds of uninsured children are eligible for either SCHIP or Medicaid. Reauthorization should concentrate on reducing the number of children who are eligible for coverage but fail to get it.

Adults make up 10 percent of those covered by SCHIP nationwide. In Minnesota, the Government Accountability Office reports the number was 87 percent in 2005; in Wisconsin, adults make up 66 percent of enrollees; and in Arizona, it’s 56 percent, despite the state having a 16 percent child poverty rate.

States already misuse SCHIP funds, and expanding the program further would only encourage greater abuse. SCHIP needs reform and should be focused on the poor children who are not receiving its benefits, instead of expanding it for worse misuse and misdirection.

Kate Campaigne ( [email protected]) is legislative specialist for health care at The Heartland Institute.