Responding to Republican criticism that expanding SCHIP eligibility to more low-income children would “crowd out” private coverage, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) suggested that rather than worrying about more children moving into a public plan, Republicans should focus on reforming private health insurance to insure that it is an affordable option for working class families:
The dilemma is to make sure people in our country have good public health insurance at premiums they can afford, benefits that make sense. The Children’s Health Insurance Program has good benefits and so clearly a mother whose income is quite low, would probably want her child to be enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. We have to bolster private health insurance in this country.
“We have to take-up health care reform this year, in this Congress,” Baucus said, “it’s so important.” In early November, Baucus released a set of principles for comprehensive health care reform designed to expand health care access and improve affordability.