NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 19, 2007

Expanded health care for uninsured children may be a noble goal, but there comes a time when taxpayers can't afford such nobility, says the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic.

Under Washington State's Senate Bill 5093:

  • Children under age 19 in families at 250 percent of the federal poverty level would be eligible for subsidized health care insurance.
  • That would increase to 300 percent of the poverty level after Jan. 1, 2009; that translates into a family of four earning about $62,000 a year.
  • Coverage would be either free or on a sliding scale based on the family's annual income and would make coverage available to 38,000 more children in the next two years.

According to the Herald-Republic, this kind of expansion of government spending is neither sustainable, nor realistic.

To a lot of the working families, "poverty" and "$62,000 a year" don't belong in the same sentence.  There are plenty who would love to have a family income that high to support a couple of kids.

As Republican Rep. Bruce Chandler of Granger told the Herald-Republic: "That's higher than the median household income in all but two counties of the state."

  • Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-Spokane), said the original bill would have cost about $32 million in state funds over the first two years.  
  • Raising the income eligibility requirement from the original $51,000 threshold added about $4 million more to the total annual cost.

It's a good bet that once the program is in place, the total will only expand in number of recipients and increase in the amount of money necessary to pay for it.  That's risky in a state where the track record shows state tax revenues are very prone to boom and bust cycles, says the Herald-Republic.

Source: Editorial, "State health care plan for children too generous," Yakima Herald-Republic, February 19, 2007.


Browse more articles on Health Issues