Tim Walberg, the staunch fiscal conservative and freshman Republican Representative from Michigan, writes about the deceitful campaign waged by Democrats on behalf of the S-CHIP expansion. From country music parodies to hiding behind 12-year-old boys, the Democrats want to paint opponents as heartless Scrooges who want to see kids go without health care. Walberg writes about the way S-CHIP gets applied in Michigan, and we find out that it’s not just about kids, or even primarily about them:
I support renewing S-CHIP to provide health care to children in low-income families, but I also believe we need to ensure that the children’s health program is available for children who need it, and not for adults, people who enter the country illegally, or families who already have private insurance.
The Democratic legislation takes a program originally meant for children of low-income families and expands it to cover some families earning up to $83,000 and illegal immigrants, while moving millions of children from private health insurance to government programs.
In 2006, 118,501 children and 101,919 adults in Michigan received health care from the S-CHIP program. Incredibly, this means that 46 percent of Michigan’s funding allotment intended to give poor children health insurance actually went to cover adults.
The Wall Street Journal further described this problem in its August 9 editorial: “The bill goes so far as to offer increasing ‘bonus payments’ to states as they enroll more people in their SCHIP programs. To grease the way, the bill re-labels children’ as anyone under 25, and ‘low income’ as up to… $82,600 for a family of four.”
That split tells a large story about S-CHIP and its upper limit of 25, far beyond what anyone considers childhood. If 46% of S-CHIP payouts went to subsidize health insurance for adults before the expansion, what will be the percentage afterwards? Even without this expansion, the S-CHIP program has already suffered from a serious case of mission creep.
The federal government should not be subsidizing health insurance for adults, let alone middle-class children. Adults can make their own choices, as can families who own commercial property and have over $400,000 in home equity. Walberg wants to renew the program as it was initially designed, not as another government entitlement that will trap the government into more non-discretionary spending while we still can’t solve the economic consequences of the entitlement spending to which we are already committed.
This stopped being about poor kids when the Democrats tried to expand the program into the middle class. It stopped being about kids altogether when almost half of the subsidies went to adults rather than children. It’s clear that S-CHIP needs more control, not more expansion, and that the Democrats want to use it to make people more dependent on the dole.