SCHIP Designed for Kids but Adults Swell Enrollment

Published October 16, 2007

In “Override the SCHIP veto,” (Oct. 5) the Tribune editorial staff urges Republican representatives in Illinois to look at the facts. Unfortunately, the editorial misses them.

The often-cited rhetoric characterizing the SCHIP bill as “for the children” fails to note states have misused SCHIP funds and enrolled adults into the program. Two-thirds of uninsured children eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid go without it, while adults make up 10 percent of SCHIP enrollees nationwide. In 2005, the GAO reported 87 percent adult enrollment in Minnesota, 66 percent adult enrollment in Wisconsin, and 56 percent adult enrollment in Arizona, despite the state having a 16 percent child poverty rate.

States already misuse SCHIP funds and expanding the program further would encourage greater abuse. SCHIP needs reform, not expansion. Representatives should look at the facts and focus on the poor children not receiving SCHIP’s benefits, instead of expanding it for worse misuse and misdirection.

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