Editorials, Op-Eds Discuss SCHIP Rules, Reauthorization
State Children's Health Insurance Program
Several newspapers recently published editorials and opinion pieces discussing new rulesthat would limit SCHIP coverage to the lowest-income children, as wellas the pending reauthorization of the program. Summaries appear below.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:The Bush administration "has taken steps to make it more difficult forstates such as Wisconsin to expand coverage to children in keeping withthe president's vow to veto legislation to increase funding for" SCHIP,according to a Journal Sentinel editorial. "Theadministration fears that more coverage will encourage families to dropprivate insurance," and while "that concern can't be dismissed, itappears that" Wisconsin "has enough guidelines in place to prevent itfrom becoming widespread," according to the editorial. Concerns overdropped enrollment in private insurance have "to be weighted againstthe worthier goal: healthy children," the editorial concludes (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/24).
- New York Times:The Bush administration "seems intent on virtually eliminating" SCHIP"coverage for middle-income children, or at least drastically reducingit," because the new guidelines for SCHIP enrollment are "so draconianas to be unattainable," according to a Times editorial.According to the editorial, the guidelines "not only reverse theadministration's original approach to SCHIP, they stick a thumb in theeye of Congress." The Times concludes, "If the main goalis to reduce the number of uninsured children, as it should be, theadministration is headed in the opposite direction" (New York Times, 8/26).
- Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:The "answer" to resolving differences over SCHIP "is to negotiate withlawmakers and try to draw a compromise bill out of a conferencecommittee," not by changing "enrollment rules unilaterally, setting upa confrontation with Congress and undermining any kind of collaborativesolution," according to a Democrat and Chronicleeditorial. The editorial states, "The goal is not to define poverty andset the threshold there. It's to get decent health care to every childin America" (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 8/27).
- Washington Post:The debate over SCHIP "is a complicated one, since offering coveragefor children in higher-earning families risks displacing existingprivate insurance," a Post editorial states. However, the Postcontinues, "the administration's income cap is too strict, givenvariations in the cost of living and the price of health insurance,"and its "linked coverage target is too hard to reach -- few states evencome close." The Post writes that the "risk of parentsdropping private coverage to sign up for SCHIP is greater for parentswith higher incomes," but "there is a risk, too, when society allowschildren to remain uninsured" (Washington Post, 8/27).
- Mike King, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:To ensure SCHIP legislation passes, House Democrats "should back awayfrom their plan to pay for the expansion by cutting payments" toprivate Medicare Advantage plans because "linking the two hassidetracked the more important goal of reauthorizing" SCHIP, King, amember of the Journal-Constitution editorial board,writes in an opinion piece. King says, "After [President] Bush vetoesthe bill, Congress should stand firm, override him and secure coveragefor the nation's children," adding, "Then let the debate begin over thebest way to make health insurance affordable for the rest of us" (King,Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/26).
- Robert Nelb, Hartford Courant:In the rule change earlier this month, the Bush administration "hasproved that it is not only stingy about covering uninsured children,but that it is committed to undermining any effort to expand" SCHIP,Nelb, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institution and a health care advocate for the Connecticut Health Policy Project, writes in a Courantopinion piece. Nelb concludes that it is "time to get beyond theideology of big government and small government and focus instead onproviding some good government in the interest of America's children"(Nelb, Hartford Courant, 8/24).
- Mary Katherine Stout, Wall Street Journal:"As the governor who signed SCHIP into law" in Texas, Bush "canremember the arguments and the promises made during the initial debatesof the program" and can "see how SCHIP has been used to expandgovernment control of health care and how it has been abused," Stout,vice president of policy and director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, writes in a Journalopinion piece. Stout continues, "It would be easy for Mr. Bush to givein on this fight," but "next month, he'll square off against Congressto oppose an incremental advance of socialized medicine" through anSCHIP expansion (Stout, Wall Street Journal, 8/25).
Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.