Low-cost insurance program can't keep healthy enrollment

San Diego Union Tribune
March 4, 2001
by Susan Duerksen

"Despite intense efforts to get all eligible children covered by Healthy Families insurance, children are dropping out of the federal program almost as fast as they sign up."

Comment: "Healthy Families" is California's version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). The leading proposals for incremental reform call for expanding eligibility under the S-CHIP program. In spite of significant efforts, California has fallen far short of being able to enroll all eligible individuals, and will never be able to because of the inherent nature of the administration of the S-CHIP program. The statement above suggests that California is approaching a steady state in enrollment, with children rotating in and
out of the program. Although S-CHIP should be supported as a temporary, urgent stop gap, it and all of the other incremental concepts can never address the real issues that face us. We have the resources to provide comprehensive care to everyone, but we have a system that is totally incapable of allocating our resources effectively. We will never have resolution of this issue until we make the decision to establish a publicly administered, universal risk pool.