SCHIP Funding and Fiscal Irresponsibility

$60 billion dollars in new deficit spending.

That’s the amount the Heritage Foundation, a public policy research institute based in Washington D.C., estimates the Senate bill to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will have added to the U.S. budget deficit over the next decade [1-2]. Under the bill, funding will drop sharply in 2013 (see the graph below). Assuming a 6% annual spending increase will be required to maintain current enrollment from 2012-2017, the program will require $84.3 billion rather than the $25.6 billion included in the bill.

The House bill has an even greater cost. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the U.S. House of of Representatives SCHIP bill would add $72.9 billion dollars to the U.S. budget deficit for the 2008-2017 period [3].

Lawmakers Debate Funding Children’s Health Insurance

The Washington Post is reporting that the decade-old State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which expires in September and was expected to be renewed and possibly expanded, is held up in Congress. The debate is the proper role of government in healthcare.

The $5 billion dollar program annually helps 6.6 million low-income, uninsured American children see doctors when they’re sick. Both the U.S. House and Senate are proposing deals to expand the program and increase funding over the next five years, proposals the President characterizes as attempts to enlarge the federal role of healthcare and reduce private insurance coverage for some children.