S-CHIP

S-CHIP is the acronym for State Childrens’ Health Insurance Program. It started in 1998. This is a federally mandated program whereby children get health insurance if their family income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Currently for a family of six, this is $56,800 per year. Only “reported” income counts – as with all welfare programs, income earned in the underground economy is not included in determining eligibility.

The federal taxes pays two-thirds of the cost while state taxes pay one-third of the cost. Families who participate pay a small (average $25 per month for all children in the family) premium with no co-pays, deductibles or limits.

Plan benefits are better than many private insurance plans, offering vision, dental, chiropractic, mental health and full prescription drug coverage.

After the first two years, so few people actually signed up that state bureaucrats were assigned to “to investigate new methods, including advertising, to locate more recipients.”

Nevada’s program is called “Nevada Checkup” and its administrators are quite aware of the political sensitivity of its program – as you can see, its homepage urges recipients to register to vote in order to rally political support to its side.

In 2007, Washington held a vote to expand the S-CHIP program. After President Bush vetoed the expansion, his opponents turned the spotlight on a 12-year-old who captured the nation’s attention with his story about how S-CHIP had repaired his shattered body after a car accident. Later, it was revealed that his family was not poor and that he and his sister both attended a private school.

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