Thank Senator Hatch for This MediKid Nightmare

My latest post reminded me that back in 1997, I actually produced a number of papers surrounding the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program — also known as SCHIP, but which I prefer to call MediKid.

One of those papers is a two-pager titled, “Congress Can’t Help Uninsured Kids If it Doesn’t Understand Them.” The data are old, but the argument is still relevant to the current debate over MediKid reauthorization.

But what I really wanted to share was this paper: “Top Twelve False Claims Made about the Hatch-Kennedy Children’s Health Coverage Bill.” You see, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was a principal sponsor of MediKid, which was enacted by a Republican Congress. (That’s right.  MediKid — like Medicare Part D — is a Republican health care entitlement.)

In that paper, you will find documented refutations of the following claims supporters made about the Hatch/Kennedy/MediKid/SCHIP bill. Some of the claims may seem familiar to those watching the current reauthorization debate. See if you can guess which one was made by Sen. Hatch himself:

  1. “This is not an entitlement.”
  2. “It’s fully financed.”
  3. “The [tobacco] tax is a user fee.”
  4. “It will not create massive new bureaucracies.”
  5. “It relies on the marketplace, with coverage provided through private insurance and the existing network of local community health centers.”
  6. “This legislation clearly represents a free-market approach at solving an important national problem.”
  7. “The fact is that this bill is a far cry from the Kennedy-Kerry bill.”
  8. “Children that are not covered should be covered, and that is what the Hatch-Kennedy bill will do.”
  9. “This is going to be a state program, run through the private sector.”
  10. “It gives the states the flexibility to decide whether to participate and how to target benefits.”
  11. “The states set their own eligibility.”
  12. “It’s about as moderate to conservative a bill as you can get.”

Have you made your guess? If so, click here:

Aha! Trick question! All claims came from the conservative Sen. Hatch, except for #3, #8, and #9.

My insincere thanks to Sen. Hatch for moving America that much closer to socialized medicine. And my sincere thanks to the Heartland Institute for giving those old papers a home on the web.