But if these do-gooders truly cared about The Children, they'd be cursing mightily over the squandering of current SCHIP funds and the cheating of the very children the program was intended to help. State data analyzed by the Department of Health and Human Services reveal that 13 states spent more than 44 percent of their SCHIP funds in 2008 on people who are neither children nor pregnant women. Michigan topped the list with more than 70 percent of its federal children's health insurance funds earmarked for adults who have no kids.
In New Jersey, people earning as much as $295,000 were enrolled in its SCHIP program, dubbed "NJ FamilyCare." Like many states, New Jersey failed to check eligibility for all program enrollees and refuses to conduct stringent assets tests.
As I've noted before, the refusal to do assets tests on federal health insurance programs is why federal entitlements are exploding and government keeps expanding. After an audit found that the New Jersey program had paid $43.1 million to participants without knowing whether they were eligible, Republican Assemblyman Richard Merkt observed that it "called into serious question the state's competence to run health insurance programs." Multiply that by 50 states.
How will the Democrats prevent such fraud? I'd give you more details about the Obama/Democratic tax hike on the poor to expand children's health care coverage for the non-poor and non-children, but as of Tuesday afternoon, there was no legislation text available. And no hearings are planned before the expansion is rushed through for Obama to sign.
The Wall Street Journal did report that Democrats plan to lift decade-old restrictions to allow legal immigrant children to tap into SCHIP. But there's no word on whether citizenship eligibility requirements will be strengthened. Democratic leadership hasn't responded to Republican entreaties on that issue, either. Hurray for the deliberative process.
What I can tell you for sure is that the SCHIP expansion is a rest stop on the road to a universal health insurance entitlement built on the backs of overtaxed low-income workers. Welcome to the era of "shared sacrifice."
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