Five Key Myths About President Bush's Support For SCHIP Reauthorization
MYTH #1: President Bush's proposal would not help poor children.
FACT: The President strongly supports SCHIP reauthorization and his 2008 budget proposed to increase SCHIP funding by $5 billion over five years. This is a 20 percent increase over current levels of funding.
FACT: The President's proposal maintains SCHIP's original purpose of targeting dollars to poor children who need them most.
MYTH #2: Cost is the only reason for President Bush's veto threat.
FACT: There are numerous problems with Congress's SCHIP bill. In addition to raising spending by $35 to $50 billion, the legislation:
Turns a program meant to help poor children into one that covers children in some households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year.
Would move millions of American children who now have private health insurance into government-run health care.
Is an incremental step toward the Democrats' goal of a government-run health care system.
Raises taxes on working Americans.
Relies on a budget gimmick that drops SCHIP funding by almost 80 percent in year six, masking future deficits and ultimately resulting in a choice between higher taxes or forcing millions of children to lose health insurance.
Creates new funding schemes inviting states to overspend their budgets and shift health care costs to the Federal government by using SCHIP funding to offset state Medicaid spending.
Provides incentives to states to relax protections against enrolling ineligible individuals, including illegal immigrants.
MYTH #3: President Bush is wrong in claiming the Senate SCHIP bill would cover children in some households with incomes of up to $83,000 per year (400 percent of the Federal poverty level).
FACT: The Senate bill grandfathers in New York at a higher SCHIP match rate than the rest of the country – allowing SCHIP to cover children in some households with incomes of up to $83,000 per year.
Sens. Clinton and Schumer: "New York State's planned CHIP expansion would have covered children up to 400 percent of the national poverty level." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Press Release, "Clinton, Schumer Blast Federal Rejection Of New York's Attempts To Increase Health Coverage For Children," 9/7/07)
The Federal Poverty Level for a family of four is $20,650. Four hundred percent of $20,650 is $82,600. ("The 2007 HHS Poverty Guidelines," Accessed 9/20/07, Available At: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/07poverty.shtml)
The Senate bill states: "(B) - Exception - Subparagraph (A) [the limitation of the matching rate to the Medicaid rate for children whose effective income exceeds 300 percent of the Federal poverty level] shall not apply to any State that, on the date of enactment of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, has an approved State Plan Amendment or waiver to provide, or has enacted a State law to submit a State plan amendment to provide, expenditures described in such subparagraph under the State child health plan."
New York enacted a state law to submit a "State plan amendment." While that amendment was disapproved, the language of the Senate bill would still allow New York to claim the enhanced match if approved by a different Administration in the future.
FACT: The Senate SCHIP bill also grandfathers in New Jersey's program at 350 percent of the Federal poverty level, which includes children in families with incomes of $72,000 a year.
Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ): "Corzine added that the state, which covers about 122,000 kids in its program, known as FamilyCare, 'will continue to provide health care to children in families with income up to 350 percent' of the federal poverty level – or $72,275 for a family of four. He also wrote that he is prepared to file a lawsuit challenging the new rules." (Christopher Lee, "N.J.'s Corzine to Defy New Health-Care Rules," The Washington Post, 9/14/07)
MYTH #4: Democrats are not seeking a political victory by passing a bill they know will be vetoed.
FACT: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL): "If he vetoes the bill, it's a political victory for us." (Robert Pear, "Veto Risk Seen In Compromise On Child Health," The New York Times, 9/17/07)
FACT: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD): "With a bill on its way to the president's desk by the end of next week, Democrats will be safe in blaming the White House for allowing the program to expire, according to House Majority Leader Hoyer." (Fawn Johnson, "Negotiators Strike SCHIP Deal, Agree To Slightly Modified Senate Measure," National Journal's CongressDaily, 9/19/07)
FACT: House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-CA): "The Medicare and Medicaid portions of CHAMP have been abandoned for rhetorical and/or political reasons that are unclear to me." (Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), Dear Democratic Colleague Letter, 9/20/07)
MYTH #5: President Bush will be responsible if SCHIP is not reauthorized by September 30.
FACT: Congress is irresponsibly waiting until just before SCHIP expires on September 30 to pass a final bill they know will be vetoed. Democrats have known for months that President Bush would veto a bill like the one they intend to send him.
FACT: One of the Democrats' leaders has even said such a veto would be a "political victory." Members of Congress are putting health coverage for poor children at risk just so they can score political points in Washington.
FACT: President Bush has called on Congress to pass a clean, temporary extension of the current SCHIP program that he can sign by September 30. The President does not believe health coverage for poor children should be held hostage while political ads are being made and new polls are being taken.
FACT: The President has instructed HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to work with states to mitigate the resulting damage if Congress allows SCHIP to lapse.