Like previous expansions of Pennsylvania's State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Gov. Tom Corbett's 2013-14 budget plan to add $8.5 million to extend coverage to more kids is a well-intentioned paving of the road to taxpayer hell.
Available to uninsured children and teens ineligible for Medicaid, SCHIP has covered more than 1 million young people since its 1993 inception and covers more than 188,000 today. Gov. Corbett wants to enroll another 9,300 with his latest proposal.
But as Commonwealth Foundation scholar Nathan Benefield concludes, Corbett is “striking at the branches, not the root of the problem.”
The governor's proposed expansion would not rein in costs, boost efficiency or make coverage more affordable. As SCHIP covers more children, more private insurers will be crowded out of the market, more employers will pare back benefits, more “free” services will be used and more taxpayer dollars will be spent.
The state's 2006 “Cover All Kids” SCHIP expansion prompted Mr. Benefield to then write: “Despite its name, (S)CHIP is not an insurance program — medical bills are not paid by insurance premiums, but by taxpayers. (S)CHIP is a welfare program, and ... costs will grow exponentially as dependants are added.”
Corbett might see further SCHIP expansion as popular and politically beneficial. Yet it's anything but beneficial for soaring health-care costs and the taxpayers who foot SCHIP's bills.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.