Let SCHIP Expire

Congress should let the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expire on September 30 and replace it with the freedom to purchase health insurance from anywhere in the nation. 

SCHIP is senseless. Like its much larger sibling Medicaid, the program forces taxpayers to send their money to Washington so that Congress can send it back to state governments with strings attached. Both programs force taxpayers to subsidize people who don’t need help, discourage low-income families from climbing the economic ladder — and make private insurance more expensive for everyone else.

But don’t expect an enlightened discussion of SCHIP’s costs and benefits when the Democrats’ bid to expand the program to 70 percent of all children comes to the House floor for a vote on Tuesday.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was at her demagogic best (I hope) when she said a veto of the bill would be the equivalent of President Bush saying, “I forbid 10 million children in America to have health care.” Good grief.

I asked a reporter if suggesting that Congress let SCHIP expire would lead Sen. John Kerry to accuse me of murdering middle-class babies. She replied, “No. Just hating kids.”