Thunderpig’s Mirror

Video: The Conservative Approach to Helping Uninsured Children

Posted by Thunder Pig on October 19, 2007

Video Obtained From Heritage Foundation


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A Balanced Approach to Covering Kids

The current debate has focused almost exclusively on SCHIP–as though expanding SCHIP is the only way to expand health coverage for children. However, there are drawbacks to expanding SCHIP eligibility above the original income ceiling of 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). For certain family income levels, as many as 60 percent of new SCHIP enrollees would be children who already have private coverage.[1] Also, expanding SCHIP does nothing to help modest-income families who currently have private insurance for their children (typically through their place of work) but who are likely to need assistance if they are to be unable to afford their children’s coverage in the future.

Members of Congress should widen the discussion to include other policy ideas that could easily bridge the divide. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) and other lawmakers recently started to design a balanced alternative.

Specifically, a reasonable compromise could be formed around three simple concepts:

  • Reauthorize SCHIP for eligible children. Congress should approve a straight reauthorization of the SCHIP program for uninsured children in families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the FPL. The legislation should include provisions to increase outreach to enroll eligible children who do not have private health insurance coverage. Congress should allow for reasonable accommodation for those states that have previously obtained waivers from the Administration to increase the income eligibility.

  • Enact a child health care tax credit. For families with incomes between 200 percent and 300 percent of the FPL (the core population targeted by supporters of the SCHIP expansion), Congress should provide assistance to help them purchase private health insurance or retain the private coverage they currently have. Congress should permit these families to claim a $1,200 tax credit that could be used to enroll their children in dependent coverage through an employer or the individual market. This credit would take two forms: a non-refundable tax credit for taxpaying families, and a refundable tax credit (in effect, a voucher) for families that do not pay enough in taxes to secure a credit. The credits would be paid for in two budget-neutral ways.

    The non-refundable tax credit could be paid for by capping the current tax exclusion for employer-provided insurance (a change long supported by economists, both liberal and conservative) for upper income families. This could take the form of limiting the tax-free amount to the cost of an average plan (just over $12,000 for family coverage) for those earning above, say, $150,000. All revenue generated by this reform of the tax exclusion would be used for tax relief for taxpaying families in the 200-300 percent of FPL range.

    Under the federal budget process, the refundable part of the credit is considered a federal expenditure and should be fully offset by cutting wasteful or unnecessary spending such as corporate welfare.

  • Adopt a “federalism” health care initiative. Legislation introduced by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and George Voinovich (R-OH) in the Senate and by Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Tom Price (R-GA) in the House would encourage greater experimentation at the state level to expand coverage, which complements both the reauthorization of SCHIP and the tax relief for working families.[2] Already enjoying broad support in both parties, this element would provide states with even stronger incentives and flexibility to find more efficient ways of using existing federal and state funds to increase insurance coverage.

Source Article: The Heritage Foundation

Commentary

Another thing to consider is the progressive goal of Universal Health Care…and they know that it will not be swallowed whole by the American people, so the route chosen is incrementalism.

The SCHIP bill that the President vetoed covered children up to 25 Years of Age. If that is so…why not change the voting laws to reflect that? Why not change the Drinking Laws to reflect that? Why not keep our brave men and women from joining the military until they are over 25?

That is just one of the many ridiculous things involved in this bill that would have us march ever so closer to Universal Slavery Health Care. The government already has too much power over our lives and our decisions.

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