Considering Flaws in Children's Health Insurance

Children’s health insurance is a program that is operated by the states in partnership with the federal government through the Department of Health and Human Services. Created as Title XXI of the Social Security Act in 1997, the program sought to expand health insurance benefits for those children who met the guidelines for coverage under the age of 18.  The program, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is funded by the states and federal government in a manner similar to Medicaid.  The program was reauthorized in 2009 with the goal of expanding coverage to 4 million children in the United States.  The expansion is paid for by placing an excise tax on cigarettes and tobacco products.

Prior Attempts to Expand CHIP

Attempts to expand the program prior to 2009 were vetoed twice by President George Bush. The chief argument against the program was that it discourages parents and guardians from choosing private insurance options because the costs for participating in the CHIP program are lower than private insurance.

  • Flaw number 1 - is the belief that competition is good for meeting the important health care needs of children under the age of 18 who represent 1/3 of the U.S. population. Of the 48 million uninsured Americans, 10.1 million are children under the age of 18.  These are children come from families that are at or below the federal poverty level. The only way they can afford healthcare is with the public assistance programs.
  • Flaw number 2 - you cannot have a country with the best healthcare system in the world leave 10 million children on the outside looking in. It is unacceptable to have over 20% percent of our most vulnerable and voiceless population to not have access to healthcare.  Even with an expansion of the program to cover a total 4 million children, under CHIP that leaves between 5.66 and 6.1 million who are still without healthcare.

Cost of CHIP

The cost of CHIP, which is about 40 billion since its inception in 1997, is arguably the largest incentive to end the program. The cost of the program is high. When compared to the number of US dollars that are spent, however, the cost is not as high as it sounds initially. The United States spent a total of $ .9 trillion in an 8 year span on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In comparison, CHIP spending is only 4 percent of the total spending for the 2 wars. 

Must Provide Adequate Access to Care

Children in this country need access to adequate health care, regardless of geographic location, race, gender or country of origin. The CHIP does not currently cover a sufficient amount of children. It should be a social moral issue to prevent children deaths or permanent disabilities from curable diseases. It is important to recognize that we should expand the budget and not decrease it at all.  

blog comments powered by Disqus