Governors from around the country are in Washington D.C.this week for the annual meeting of the National Governors Association. One of
the main bones of contention at this years’ meetings has been the expansion of
federal funding for state SCHIP programs. The governors want more, and lots of it. THCB’s own Eric Novack has been following this story like a hawk. And, as usual, he’s got a question.
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program was designed
by Congress to help states have money to provide Medicaid services to, well,
kids. The intent of Congress was clear,
given the “C” in the program’s name. Now
governors are screaming that SCHIP funding proposals by the federal government
are woefully inadequate.
Except for one thing—many states use SCHIP dollars to pay
for Medicaid for adults! Using 2005 data: In Minnesota, 87% of total SCHIP
enrollees in 2005 were adults, and 66% in Wisconsin. In Arizona, 56% of those enrolled
in SCHIP were adults.
Perhaps the states ought to use the funds for what they were
intended before complaining that they are being underfunded. If a child spent his ‘snack bar’ allowance on going to the movies, and then complained he was short, we would be likely to
require guarantees that the money would be spent properly in the future before
handing over the cash.