The Transparency Train is rolling. The first beachhead was passage of the ‘google government’ bill last year by Dr. Coburn and, now, it appears that the sun will soon shine on earmarks. The next great Transparency Frontier will be reauthorization of government programs Ã¢â?¬â?? or at least it should be. The “State Children’s Health Insurance Program” (SCHIP) has been in the news recently as those on the Hill look to reauthorize, while some even advocate to expand, the program. Providing government funded health care for the poorest children of America’s neediest families is a worthy social goal but, SCHIP has not been without controversy. In an April 24th Wall Street Journal article, it was reported that “some states are using the program to expand government-subsidized coverage well beyond kids Ã¢â?¬â?? to children from wealthier families and even to adults”. Indeed, what was originally intended to help the poorest of the poor, the most needed is now being used to backdoor HillaryCare – inch-by-inch national health care insurance. Devon Herrick wrote in a recent Washington Times article, “SCHIP was designed to achieve one specific goal: insurance for children. That goal has been lost in the mad scramble to not lose federal money. SCHIP should be scaled back to fulfill its original intent, and we need to explore better options for achieving that intent. Throwing money at a problem has never worked.” Is there a Doctor in the house? Why, yes there is! Let’s apply a Back on Track Transparency analysis as might be prescribed by the Senate Doctor, Dr. Tom Coburn, to the SCHIP and other government programs: Rx- SCHIP (and the politicians that fund it) should require the comprehensive review of the SCHIP program, the consolidation of overlapping programs, and the elimination of ineffective aspects before considering continuation or expansion. Rx- SCHIP should reprioritize it funding and efforts toward providing health care for children in families with the greatest need before adding new or additional taxes on the American taxpayer. Rx- SCHIP should be subject to rigorous audits and review, and continued funding should be tied to measurable outcomes. Paging Congress, your prescription is ready!
Amanda Kathryn Hydro is the Director of Policy Development at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.