You know SCHIP, it’s the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that Democrats were screaming bloody murder about not all that long ago. The Democrats were mad because Bush vetoed two bills that would expand the program. Screamed and hollared and whined about how children were going to suffer and now Democratic hypocrisy is coming home to roost From the Columbia Journalism Review:
It turns out that the House indeed wants to repeal the program and require kids to get coverage via the insurance exchange, the government’s soon-to-be gigantic brokerage service. Their parents, of course, would be getting subsidies to help buy coverage, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat no less, touted the advantages of dumping SCHIP. One advantage: the program wouldn’t be subject to the periodic and occasionally problematic Congressional reauthorizations that threaten its existence. Dingell said kids could have the same insurance as their parents—an incentive to force parents to cover their kids. (Sometimes parents, daunted by bureaucratic red tape, don’t enroll their children even if they are eligible.)
But in return, kids would be hurt, says Alison Buist, director of child health at the Children’s Defense Fund. She told me that if the House provision were to take effect, kids might lose some valuable and comprehensive benefits now available to kids on Medicaid and SCHIP. If parents, strapped for cash, had to shop in the exchange, they might choose low-cost insurance with skimpy benefits and pay more out-of-pocket than SCHIP currently requires them to pay. SCHIP rules limit a family’s out-of-pocket costs to five percent of their income. States don’t even impose the five percent, Buist said, because they have found parents with low incomes couldn’t pay that much. So it seems that there’s a cost shift here—making poor families pay more so that sick (and most likely older) people buying in the exchange would pay less.
First Focus, a children’s advocacy group, released a study by the consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide which found that families, depending on their incomes, would pay between seven and thirty-five percent of their health costs out-of-pocket compared to two percent or less under SCHIP. Researchers concluded: “If children were moved from SCHIP to the exchange plans as currently drafted in the House and Senate, the out-of-pocket costs for children would increase rather dramatically.
Tell me again how this bill is good for anybody? Toss in the public mandate and most of America is getting screwed.