North Dakota Rejects State Health Expansion

Health Care News (Heartland Institute), July 1, 2009

The North Dakota legislature has rejected a measure to expand eligibility for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The bill would have extended SCHIP eligibility to families making 200 percent of the federal poverty level and would have allowed more than 1,100 additional children each month to enroll in the program.

House Bill 1478 was defeated by a 47-41 vote.

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, said HB 1478 would have done more harm than good to the children its sponsors were supposedly trying to help.

“North Dakota was right to vote against a further expansion of taxpayer-supported SCHIP,” said Turner. “The more legislators expand public programs to cover children in higher-income families, the harder it is for children in families who have few other options to obtain the care they need.

“Rather than further expanding public programs, legislators should be looking for ways to help families obtain affordable private health insurance by lifting the regulatory burden on health insurance to encourage them to offer more affordable, flexible insurance to citizens,” Turner added.

John R. Graham, director of health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute, agreed. “If North Dakota is like other states, the government [would] take at least 600 of those kids from their families’ health policies into the government’s plan. Plus, North Dakota would have to raise taxes to get the money to attract the federal matching funds necessary to pay for that expansion.

“SCHIP does not increase access to health care for children,” Graham continued. “Rather, it is a classic example of how the government fragments our access to health care.”

Colleen Watson ([email protected]) writes from Illinois. Katie Flanigan ([email protected]) writes from Georgia.

For more information …

North Dakota House Bill 1478:

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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