Legislation increases spending; extends benefits to adults, illegals

WASHINGTON, DC Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) voted against the SCHIP Reauthorization Act citing unacceptable provisions that would force families off private insurance, increase spending and extend coverage to adults and to people living in our country illegally.

I fully support caring for our nations children in need, said Poe. SCHIP was created by the Republican Congress in 1997 and its original purpose was to care for our countrys poorest children, but this bill takes a health care plan for poor children and turns it into a path to socialized health care for America. This so-called new and improved bill is still the same unacceptable plan to raise taxes, crowd-out private insurance, and extend benefits to adults and to illegals that is was last time. We have a responsibility to care for our greatest resources, our children, but using them as a front to increase spending and lay the ground work for a government-run health care system is a shame.

H.R. 2Childrens Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act:

  • The bill dramatically increases spending: The bill will increase spending on the SCHIP from the $40 billion spent over the previous ten years to a total of $60 billion over just the next four and a half year years; provides $73.3 billion over ten years in new mandatory spending on top of the $25 billion over five years that would result from a straight extension of the program.
  • The bill severely weakens proof of U.S. citizenship requirements: The bill will weaken current law requiring states to document the identity and citizenship status of applicants while at the same time removing the five-year waiting period for non-citizens to enroll in SCHIP and Medicaid.
  • The bill does nothing to protect against private insurance crowd-out: CBO estimates that 2.4 million children will shift from receiving private insurance to government run insurance.
  • The bill increases taxes on the poorest Americans: The $71.1 billion tax increase on tobacco is the most regressive tax in American history according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). This is a substantial tax increase on low income individuals in order to pay for an expansion of SCHIP to higher income levels.
  • The bill includes Higher Income families: H.R. 2 increases the eligibility limit to 300% of FPL or $63,600 for a family of four but also continues the current authority for states to define and disregard income. Under current law, states can cover families earning up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or $42,400 for a family of four in 2008 or those at 50% above Medicaid eligibility. However, states have been able to disregard income with regard to eligibility for the program.
  • The bill would ban new physician-owned hospitals and expansion: H.R. 2 bans new physician-owned hospitals from participating in Medicare and places severe restrictions on the expansion of existing hospitals, ultimately resulting in growth controlled at the federal level.