Friday, September 28, 2007

The SCHIP Debate

Greg Mankiw weighs in on this controversy with the following exam question:

With medical costs skyrocketing, the middle class struggling, and heartless Republicans running the government, what has happened to the percentage of children without health insurance over the past seven years?

He then asks us to look at figure 1 from this source, which shows that this percentage has declined over the past decade. Greg then suggests to his readers:

Feel free to suggest your hypotheses to explain these data in the comments section.

Greg got some good answers including one from Marshall Derks, which simply said: “Simple answer, SCHIP was created in 97”. A longer answer came from Mike: “Partisan hackery at its worst, Dr. Mankiw. Shame. As bob put it, the correct question is what will happen in the two scenarios going forward”. These replies only go to show you what happens when you don’t drink the White House Kool Aid.


Anonymous said...

"These replies only go to show you what happens when you don’t drink the White House Kool Aid."

Just as Mankiw himself shows what can happen to your professional reputation as an economist (and, apparently, your brain cells) when you go to work for the Bush Administration.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste -- particularly when it's only for the greater glory of the Republican Party.

Anonymous said...

Is the children healthing?


Anonymous said...

In addition to S-CHIP, my hypothesis is that heartless republicans want to hold onto power so that they can extract the maximum amount of graft from the government and taxpayers, and that hecatombs of avoidably dead children are not conducive to a political party doing well at the polls.

Having been in the Bush administration, Mankiw would be among the first to agree that ideological goals are always ultimately subservient to political constraints.

Anonymous said...

What's happened to uninsured kids is SCHIP & Medicaid expansions.

According to the US Census Bureau, the number of children with private health insurance (ie, health insurance their parents bought or got on the job) has DECLINED from 50.5 million in 1999 (70% of kids) to 47.9 million in 2006 (64.6% of kids).

In the meantime, the number of kids on public programs has increased from 16.7 million to about 22 million. So, for couple of years the number of uninsured kids declined in spite of more kids losing private insurance, because the public programs were catching them as they fell.

And you may ask Dr. Mankiw what happened in 2005 and 2006, the two years when the number of kids on public insurance DIDN'T increase (largely because SCHIP started to run out of money?)

Well, the number of uninsured kids went up. By a MILLION kids.

This ain't rocket science. As the healthcare system collapsed, we saved kids using SCHIP. When we stopped doing that, the kids fell off just like the adults have been doing for the past 10 years. Just look at page 63-65 of this year's PDF census report on the uninsured.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of budget cuts, the graph extrapolates a 2007 result from NHIS' first-quarter sample.

Good thing the NHIS sample relied on wasn't from the third quarter, which has seen a 50% cut each of the past two years.

So not only was less money going to kids' insurance, but less money was going to measure the results, too. (See also the Survey of Income and Program Participation in this regard.)