The main thing to understand about this sad Corbett campaign attempt to use CHIP – a program Allyson Schwartz helped create – as a wedge issue is that enrolling CHIP kids in Medicaid is going to expand coverage and lower prices for everybody.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid becomes more of a middle class health insurance plan, covering earners further above the poverty line than it currently does. Medicaid already provides basically the same access to care as private insurance for much much cheaper cost, and if we enroll even more people (including current CHIP beneficiaries) in Medicaid, they’re going to get even better access to care at lower cost. As the insurance pool grows, more doctors will begrudgingly accept Medicaid’s relatively stingy reimbursement rates because they’ll want the business.
It can’t be repeated enough: enrolling CHIP beneficiaries in Medicaid is going to improve access and lower prices. That’s what the Corbett people are politically attacking.
And politically, this isn’t going to work. Everybody knows Democrats want to insure more people and expand what’s covered, and they know Republicans want to drop coverage for more people and cut benefits. We “own” this issue, and nobody is going to out-handout us. Voters don’t believe the nasty austerity party wants to give them more nice things than the Democrats.