Support SCHIP Renewal for Low-Income Children
The State Children’s Health Insurance program (SCHIP) in California has helped about 850,000 low-income children in California. That is why I am a proud supporter of renewing SCHIP because helping low-income children receive health care is a value we all should support.
However, I voted against the recent SCHIP bill in Congress and continue to oppose the bill as currently written because:
(1) The bill is an invitation to fraud. It significantly weakens the existing checks and balances that require showing proof that you are eligible. Every dollar we allow to go to someone for fraudulent health benefits is one dollar less that should have gone to a poor child without health coverage.
(2) Taking money that could be used for low-income children and instead giving to those that live in households making $60,000, or as much as $80,000, per year is against the values that this program of helping low income children was built on! On CSPAN last week, a stay-at-home mother of two, whose husband earns less than $25,000 per year, said she was frustrated that the SCHIP would be expanded to families making $80,000 per year, while her state SCHIP program is failing to fully reimburse her for her children’s medical bills:
“…I'm a mother of two, and my husband works and I don't work … We make less than $25,000 a year, but we run our house, we feed our children. And they're talking about – and I have a hard time – I’m on the North Carolina Choice [the state’s SCHIP program], and I have a hard time getting them to pay all the bills of just my children, not me and my husband. We have no insurance…I don't understand how the government can talk about giving people that make $80,000 insurance for their children! When, I mean, there's so many of us out there that don't make $40,000!”
Poor children should be insured first. Some may disagree with this position and I respect and appreciate that. But most would also want to make sure their elected officials are ensuring that their taxpayer dollars are being used for its desired purpose of helping low income children, and not be diverted elsewhere. That is why I urge all Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, to work to find bipartisan compromise that we can all be proud of. To drag out this process any longer would only serve partisan politics rather than expanding health care access for low-income children. Let’s put children above Washington politics.