It is astonishing that liberals, like Verla Insko and Dan Gerlach, are criticizing the Bush administration for requiring states to extend taxpayer-funded insurance to those children who might actually need it, instead of providing funding to expand such programs to the middle class.
The new rules require that state SCHIP programs, like NC Health Choice, cannot be expanded to cover children from families who currently earn too much to qualify for these programs until 95 percent of children who are actually eligible are covered. Here in North Carolina, for example, legislators appropriated $7.4 million for a new initiative (NC Kids Care) that will extend taxpayer-funded insurance to children from families who earn 300 percent of FPL – $61,950 for a family of four. At the same time, the budget capped NC Health Choice growth at 6 percent annually. In order to be eligible for NC Health Choice a family must earn no more than 200 percent of FPL – $41,300 for a family of four. Thus while thousands of kids who are eligible for NC Health Choice have been placed on a waiting list, the state is extending health coverage to children whose families, in most cases, can afford to buy their own insurance.
All this raises the question of what is really behind the current expansion of taxpayer-funded insurance — helping the poor? Or simply expanding the size of government?