Sail on, sCHIP of State

  • by: |
  • 09/25/2007

From the Health Policy Consensus Group

* The primary focus of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program should be to cover children in families with incomes at or below 200 percent of poverty. States that wish to expand sCHIP to cover children and adults in higher-income families are free to do so with their own state funds.

For those above 200 percent of poverty, the appropriate federal mechanism for support is through a combination of tax reform and direct financial subsidies to help families purchase the private health insurance of their choice.

* The program’s subsidies should be re-structured to encourage the purchase of private health insurance. sCHIP subsidies could be used to allow parents to purchase the health coverage that they believe is best for their children, including adding them to policies that may be offered at their workplaces. Research shows that children and their parents benefit if the whole family is covered.

* The federal-state matching ratio for sCHIP funding should be changed to eliminate the distortions that exist in today’s system. States receive a higher federal matching rate for covering sCHIP recipients (which today include many adults) than they receive for covering children eligible for Medicaid, even though these Medicaid children are in families with lower incomes. Congress should focus on fixing the perverse incentives that reward states at a higher level for enrolling higher-income sCHIP children over poorer Medicaid children. The current funding formulas also mean more federal sCHIP dollars will go to wealthier states that can afford to expand the program than to poorer states that do not have sufficient state funds to expand their programs.

* sCHIP must not be turned into another entitlement program modeled after Medicaid, with unlimited federal funds matching state spending on benefits. That would add to the taxpayers’ already-overwhelming burden of tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlement liabilities. It also would encourage states to use accounting tricks to inappropriately increase federal payments, as they have done for years in the Medicaid program. sCHIP must remain as a capped funding program to the states, and Congress must require states to live within their allocations.

Here is the complete Consensus Group statement:
Download file

Two-thirds of uninsured children are eligible for either sCHIP or Medicaid under current law, including many children under 200 percent of poverty who are not yet enrolled. Expanding sCHIP to children in higher-income families would mean shifting the focus away from these children who most need help and would grow the program into a middle-class entitlement that goes far beyond its current mission of helping near-poor children. Reauthorization of sCHIP should concentrate on reducing the number of near-poor children who are eligible for coverage.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

Blog Roll

Alliance for Patient Access Alternative Health Practice
Better Health
Biotech Blog
CA Medicine man
Cafe Pharma
Campaign for Modern Medicines
Carlat Psychiatry Blog
Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look
Conservative's Forum
Club For Growth
Diabetes Mine
Disruptive Women
Doctors For Patient Care
Dr. Gov
Drug Channels
DTC Perspectives
Envisioning 2.0
FDA Law Blog
Fierce Pharma
Fresh Air Fund
Furious Seasons
Gel Health News
Hands Off My Health
Health Business Blog
Health Care BS
Health Care for All
Healthy Skepticism
Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma
Hugh Hewitt
In the Pipeline
In Vivo
Internet Drug News
Jaz'd Healthcare
Jaz'd Pharmaceutical Industry
Jim Edwards' NRx
Kaus Files
Laffer Health Care Report
Little Green Footballs
Med Buzz
Media Research Center
More than Medicine
National Review
Neuroethics & Law
Nurses For Reform
Nurses For Reform Blog
Opinion Journal
Orange Book
Peter Rost
Pharm Aid
Pharma Blog Review
Pharma Blogsphere
Pharma Marketing Blog
Pharmacology Corner
Pharmaceutical Business Review
Piper Report
Prescription for a Cure
Public Plan Facts
Real Clear Politics
Shark Report
Shearlings Got Plowed
Taking Back America
Terra Sigillata
The Cycle
The Catalyst
The Lonely Conservative
Town Hall
Washington Monthly
World of DTC Marketing
WSJ Health Blog