Health care: A gubernatorial issue?

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Arthur Eaves Jr. is touting a new program he calls Kid Care to cover uninsured Mississippi children.

Eaves provided details of his plan, Kid Care, to The Clarion-Ledger last week. Modeled after an Illinois program, the Eaves plan seeks to offer affordable coverage for children whose families earn too much to qualify for state and federal help but not enough to afford private insurance.

A spokesman for Gov. Haley Barbour said the Eaves plan “doesn’t add up” and that it’s based on “a $100 million mistake” in calculating SCHIP monthly premiums. The Eaves plan would require the parents of recipient children to pay premiums and co-pays, which the Barbour camp says would require that “middle-class families get less but pay far more.”

Barbour has focused his efforts on getting the SCHIP program reauthorized by Congress in a way that fixes a funding formula he says penalizes the state. Congress remains at loggerheads over the program, split mostly along party lines.

Sufficient details on the Eaves plan to evaluate its merit have not been made available by the candidate. The Kaiser Foundation, a nonprofit group that studies health issues, has said that the Illinois program on which the Eaves plan is based faces “challenges” in sustaining funding.

Clarion Ledger Editorial