Taxpayers Fund Both Sides of Fight Over Bush’s Illegal SCHIP Rules
Arriving too late to sneak into this morning’s SCHIP story, one advocate’s comments on the program’s enrollment controversy reveal an interesting take on the saga. While the Bush administration hopes to limit program enrollment to the lowest-income kids, states are suing, both to keep higher-income youngsters on the rolls (if, like New Jersey, they already cover them) and to expand coverage to include wealthier kids (if, like New York, they don’t).
Yet as Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a Washington-based children’s health-care advocacy group, points out, this means that federal taxpayers are picking up the legal tab for the administration to defend its policy, while state taxpayers are picking up the legal tab to fight it. In both cases, Lesley says, those dollars would be better spent on kids than lawyers.
From a taxpayer perspective, HHS is forcing states into lawsuits to overturn this illegal action. Thus, you are paying with federal and state taxes … to battle your own money in court.
In other words, rather than HHS spending millions of dollars in legal expenses to try to prevent children from receiving health coverage, that money would be far better spent providing health coverage to children.