About Us


Contact Information


How You Can Make a Difference


Issues


Legislative Action Center


Links


Policy Information Center


Press
Releases


Religious Liberty


Send Me
More Information

 

 

 

Capital Hill Watch Alert

State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)

On September 21, 2007, a final deal was reached on the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) by the Senate and the House of Representatives negotiators from both parties. The measure is a $35 billion entitlement expansion that is scheduled for a vote this week in both the House of Representatives and Senate.  President Bush has vowed to vote the measure if it is passed by both Chambers of Congress.  Similar to a Senate version that passed in August with 68 votes and enough to override a veto is the compromise.  However, in the House of Representatives getting the required votes will be difficult.

The bill over the next five years would increase the program's total funding to $60 billion with the expansion to be paid for by a 61-cent increase in the federal excise tax to $1 a pack on cigarettes. Total enrollment would be increased from 6.6 million to 10 million by the increased funding. Also, last month the Bush administration imposed restrictions on states' ability to enroll middle-class children and the implementation of the new rules would be blocked by the measure. Except for pregnant women, the measure would prevent states from enrolling adults and would require states that already have adults on the rolls to remove them. 

To expand coverage to children in families with incomes up to twice the poverty level (Currently, $41,300 for a family of four), the S-CHIP program started as a modest program. However, ten years later and some $40 billion later,  wasteful states have exploited loopholes and have transformed S-CHIP into a far more expansive program that provides coverage to children in families with annual incomes as high as $83,000, their parents and even some children adults. 

States will have an inducement to sign up as many people as possible for S-CHIP because of the large amount of federal dollars available.  Many of these people will be middle-class families that already have private health insurance, or could afford to purchase it, but prefer government-subsidized coverage.

States would lose tobacco tax revenue by an increase in the federal tobacco tax.  To make up for this loss, states would have to reduce funding for programs such as education or transportation, or even eliminate some programs altogether with these enormous tax losses to their budgets. Also, the majority of states would lose out under the redistribution of S-CHIP expansion funds.  Millions of new smokers would be required because the tax hike would not provide enough revenue to fund proposed S-CHIP expansions.  However, for decades the number of smokers in this nation has been declining and a tobacco tax increase would cause tobacco consumption and the resulting tax revenue to decline even more sharply.  A higher tobacco tax would not be a reliable or sufficient funding source to fund S-CHIP expansion.  To continue this program's expansion the American taxpayer in the long-term would be burdened to fund this entitlement program.  Furthermore, America must stop advancing on the road towards the federalization of health care or socialized medicine which will cause the quality and availability of treatment to decline. 

What Can You Do?  

1. Urge your representative to NOT SUPPORT  the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)

Contact Information:      

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your representative's office.)  

To go to your representative's website, find his E-mail or to find out who your representatives are... http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html    

To electronically mail your U.S. House of Representative, go to http://www.house.gov/htbin/wrep_findrep.    

Addressing Correspondence:    

The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515  

Dear Representative (last name):  

2. Urge your senators to NOT SUPPORT  State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)

Contact Information:  

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your senator's office.)

To go to you senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm    

Contact Information:    

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your senator's office.)

To go to you senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm    

Addressing Correspondence:    

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510  

Dear Senator (last name):   

Back to the American Voice Institute of Public Policy Home Page