Veto Preserves Original Intent of SCHIP

Published October 24, 2007

“House Sustains President’s Veto on Child Health” (Oct. 19) recognizes the stark differences between those on each side of the SCHIP decision. Yet, common ground does exist.

Most Americans support continuing the original mission of SCHIP: insuring poor children in lower-income families. The President did not want to expand a program bloated with abuse by the states and misuse of SCHIP funds. The President and Congress must now concentrate on accomplishing what SCHIP originally intended: Covering poor children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford private coverage.

Reauthorization should focus on reducing the number of children eligible for but not receiving coverage; restructuring SCHIP subsidies to allow and encourage families to purchase private insurance so they can decide what health insurance best fits their children’s needs; eliminating the federal-state matching formula for SCHIP funding; fixing the incentives that encourage states to enroll higher-income SCHIP children instead of poorer Medicaid children; and making sure SCHIP remains a capped funding program–not allowing it to morph into another entitlement program like Medicaid.

Kate Campaigne ( [email protected]) is a legislative specialist for the Heartland Institute.