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Top Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Bill

MYTH:  North Carolina’s economy will suffer because the children’s health expansion is paid for by a 61 cent federal tobacco tax.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

A 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax to fund the program means 3-4 times more money for NC in increased funding for children’s health insurance than we will ever lose from the increase in the cost of cigarettes.  Incidentally, the loss of revenue to North Carolina is a result of the falling use of tobacco, especially among teens and new smokers as a result of the higher price – a result we all presumably would like to have happen.

MYTH:  North Carolina’s remaining tobacco farmers will be hurt by the increase in the tobacco tax.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

Tobacco farmers in North Carolina have received billions in payments from tobacco settlements and buyouts.  North Carolina tobacco farmers are in the process of receiving almost two billion dollars in direct cash payments as a result of the national tobacco settlement.  An additional $9.6 billion is streaming to farmers (mainly in North Carolina but also in surrounding tobacco states) from the national tobacco buyout and generating ideas of setting up retirement plans, charitable trusts, and investment options.  We have pumped billions in direct cash payments to help our farmers.  Isn’t it time we helped workers from other industries who can no longer afford to buy health insurance for their kids?

MYTH: Does not target poor kids and extends coverage to kids in families earning $83,000.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

North Carolina ran out of money to cover families of 4 making under $41,300 because so many lower-income kids in NC need coverage.  The program was saved in NC by shifting younger children into Medicaid.  We need this new money just to cover the lowest income kids in the state.

The bipartisan children's health insurance bill puts poor kids first, just as the President claims it should.  The bill specifically targets the lowest-income uninsured children for outreach and enrollment in the State Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid.  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recently explained that 92 percent of children covered by the bill will be in families making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  No state currently covers children in families earning $83,000 and the bipartisan bill does NOT call for coverage for children in families at higher income levels.  Instead, the bill REDUCES federal matching funds for future coverage of children at higher income levels, and provides incentives to cover the lowest-income children instead.  Also, the bill adds a new performance review and accountability measure to track the number of low-income children covered in each state.  [Houston Chronicle, 10/6/07]

MYTH: Provides health coverage to illegal immigrant children.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

Undocumented immigrants have never been eligible for Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The bipartisan children's health insurance bill would require proof of citizenship before enrollment in SCHIP, similar to requirements for the Medicaid program. States could use a number of different methods for verifying citizenship including requiring original birth certificates, passports, or Social Security numbers.

MYTH: Moves 2 million kids from private insurance into government insurance.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

"Many people assume that CBO's estimate of the bipartisan agreement means that the families of 2 million children who currently have private coverage would voluntarily drop that coverage for their children and enroll the children in SCHIP or Medicaid instead.  As CBO director Peter Orszag has explained, this is not correct. CBO defines "crowd-out" to include all children who are uninsured when they enroll in SCHIP or Medicaid but whose families would – in the absence of SCHIP or Medicaid – have purchased private coverage for these children at some point in the future, possibly many months later." [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 9/27/07]

MYTH: Will lead to socialized medicine.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

The bipartisan State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a capped block grant program, not an entitlement program and is run at the state level – not from Washington, D.C.  Furthermore, like Medicaid, SCHIP uses private doctors and private health care plans.  Indeed, the vast majority of children enrolled in SCHIP receive their health care coverage through private health care plans that contract with their states.  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/20/07]

MYTH: Covers "kids" up to age 25 years old.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

There are absolutely NO provisions in this bill that change the existing eligibility rules regarding the age of children covered.  Under the bill, just as under current law, the State Children's Health Insurance Program covers children up to age 19.

MYTH: Much of the funding for SCHIP under this bill will go to adults.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

North Carolina has never covered adults under its SCHIP program, Health Choice, and has neither the money nor the desire to do so. 

This bipartisan children's health insurance bill places the priority on children's coverage – and therefore PHASES OUT the coverage of parents and childless adults entirely over a two-year period (there are currently about 600,000 of these adults covered under SCHIP). Only optional coverage for pregnant women remains under the bill.

MYTH: Covers taxpayer-funded abortions.

BUT THE TRUTH IS:

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has never covered abortion services; and it continues to not cover abortion services under this bill.

14 Comments


  1. […] Here is an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBUT THE TRUTH IS: A 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax to fund the program means 3-4 times more money for NC in increased funding for children’s health insurance than we will ever lose […] […]

  2. […] Original post here […]

  3. Allan Lang

    October 15, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    The Truth is that if Children are Health there is a better chance that their Health Costs—-and that is you and I who will pay for it with higher Health Insurance Premiums, will be lower when they are teenagers and adults.

    Allan Lang

  4. […] Adam Searing wrote an interesting post today on Top Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance BillHere’s a quick excerptBUT THE TRUTH IS: A 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax to fund the program means 3-4 times more money for NC in increased funding for children’s health insurance than we will ever lose […] […]

  5. eugene barufkin

    October 15, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    The truth is – A Duke study released in 2004 noted that the medical and other costs per cost PACK is more than $41.
    Thus insurance premiums of non-smokers and taxes are subsidizing smoking.
    For those that chant – smaller government & lower taxes, an at least $10 per PACK tax, is a good place to start.

    eugene barufkin, Health Care for All NC

  6. […] Adam Searing wrote a fantastic post today on “Top Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Bill”Here’s ONLY a quick extractBUT THE TRUTH IS: A 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax to fund the program means 3-4 times more money for NC in increased funding for children’s health insurance than we will ever lose […] […]

  7. […] Adam Searing wrote a fantastic post today on “Top Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Bill”Here’s ONLY a quick extractBUT THE TRUTH IS: A 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax to fund the program means 3-4 times more money for NC in increased funding for children’s health insurance than we will ever lose […] […]

  8. […] The Progressive Pulse wrote an interesting post today on Top Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s H… Here’s a quick excerptTop Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Bill Posted at 3:23 PM by Adam Searing MYTH: … to fund the program means 3-4 times more money for NC in increased funding for children’s health insurance … : North Carolina’s remaining tobacco farmers will be hurt by the increase in the … Continue Reading Posted in The Progressive Pulse ( 148 links from 20 sites) […]

  9. Doris Parsons

    October 16, 2007 at 7:01 am

    If Robin Hayes is so concerned about tobacco jobs like the 2,000 from Philip Morris going overseas, WHY DID HE VOTE FOR CAFTA?

  10. sturner

    October 16, 2007 at 7:52 am

    Thanks, Adam.
    Facts are a powerful tool in the reality-based community.

  11. Adam Searing

    October 16, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    I’d like to visit the non-reality-based community sometime. Do I need a spacesuit or something?

  12. […] The Progressive Pulse wrote an interesting post today on Top Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance BillHere’s a quick excerptTop Myths about the Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Bill Posted at 3: … for children’s health insurance than we will ever lose from the increase in the cost of cigarettes … would like to have happen. MYTH: North Carolina’s remaining tobacco farmers will be hurt […]

  13. Laura

    October 20, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you so much for these facts. I have used them in writing the local papers, and in writing Rep. Coble’s handlers directly.

  14. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

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