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News of the Day ... In Perspective


Democrats promise to bring SCHIP back within 2 weeks

Democrats are determined to pass another SCHIP bill with enough tweaking to get 13 more votes needed to override a veto. Simply extending the current program apparently is not acceptable to them. They seem to prefer its sudden termination to a failure of attempts to expand it.

Opposing the mission creep that typically attends new government programs, some Republicans would like to confine SCHIP to its initial purpose of helping needy children get health insurance. An alternative proposed by Mel Martinez (R-FL) would provide tax credits for families at 200-300% of poverty to help them afford private coverage, instead of becoming government dependents.

Kate Campaigne of the Heartland Institute (www.heartland.org) suggests a number of changes to SCHIP to give families more choice about their children’s health insurance and to keep SCHIP a capped funding program, rather than allowing it to morph into another open-ended entitlement like Medicaid.

The debate is not over whether poor children should have health care, writes Grace-Marie Turner. It asks, for example, what kind of coverage will children get, and will they have the same access to their private physicians?

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