THE EAVES SCHEME DOESN’T ADD UP

Costs more, hurts middle class, breaks budget

Today, the Barbour for Governor campaign pointed out that the health care scheme that John Arthur Eaves, Jr. gave to the Clarion Ledger just doesn’t add up.

The Clarion Ledger reports, “Eaves’ plan estimates that if 146,000 children enrolled, it would cost taxpayers $28 million every year.” Although the Eaves campaign has not released publicly the details of the plan, it is obvious the scheme would cost Mississippi taxpayers at least $100 million more than what Eaves claims.

According to the press report, the Eaves scheme builds on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) and Medicaid with the cost of the program paid for by individuals through monthly premiums and co-pays with the rest paid from state taxpayers.

The current monthly premium for a child on S-CHIP is $184/month, or $2208/year. Eaves says the cost per child is $1,333, which he bases on claims by a liberal Washington, D.C. think tank. The difference ($875/year per child) would be paid from the state budget and increase the total cost of the Eaves scheme. That’s a $100 million mistake. “The Eaves scheme just doesn’t add up,” said Brian Perry, spokesperson for the Barbour for Governor campaign.

Not only does the Eaves scheme cost far more than the Eaves campaign claims, the Clarion Ledger story indicates some middle class families would be required to participate by paying $300 in monthly premiums, which is far more than the private insurance market rate. “If the Clarion Ledger story is true, middle class families will get less but pay far more under the Eaves’ plan,” said Brian Perry.

To increase health care coverage for Mississippi’s children, Governor Haley Barbour is leading a bipartisan effort by governors asking Congress to reform S-CHIP so Mississippi can get the federal funds it needs to pay for the 70,000 Mississippi kids who are eligible for S-CHIP already, but who have not enrolled.

In Mississippi, approximately 417,000 children have private health insurance; 300,000 children receive health care through Medicaid; and 60,000 children receive health care through S-CHIP.