Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The truth about SCHIP

President Bush has vetoed the SCHIP bill and recently the House failed to get enough votes to override that veto, sparking some harsh words and rhetoric as usual. So what is this piece of legislation?

SCHIP was initially passed in 1997 to provide health coverage for children who were not poor enough for Medicaid, but not wealthy enough for private insurance. It's a well-intentioned bill, but is riddled with problems. Currently, it covers about 7 million children nationwide. But Congress recently revamped the bill to increase coverage to include households that make up to 83K annual income. This would potentially expand the number of children covered to 10 million. Bush disagreed with the expansion and thus the veto. He basically wants to keep the bill as is, with a modest $5 billion increase in spending, as opposed to Congress' call for $35 billion increase.

When Bush vetoed the bill, he was immediately attacked for "not caring about the children" and opposing health care for our most innocent citizens (see my post about Pete Stark and some of the comments supporting him). Of course, those attacking him don't care much about the millions of innocents aborted each year in this country, but that's another post. Today, I need to clear up the facts amongst the politics.

First, Bush supports the SCHIP bill. He even asked for an increase in spending. So saying that he doesn't support health care for kids is simply disingenuous. Second, there are some big problems with this bill. Bush rightly complains that some states spend more than half of their SCHIP funds on care for adults (up to age 25) rather than children, violating the intent of the bill. If these states allocated their funds appropriately, there wouldn't be a need for such a dramatic increase in spending. Also, 60% of children currently eligible for SCHIP already have private insurance coverage. If the bill expanded as Congress wants, that number would increase to 77%. Bush argues that this would encourage families to drop private insurance to enroll in SCHIP, which means more Americans having their health care managed by the government and not private insurance, which is a bad thing.

There is nothing (except military protection) that the gov't can do better than the private sector, including health care. The more people who have health insurance via the private sector the better. Once we get the gov't involved, things get screwed up. And we're talking about health care, not delivering the mail. This is a big deal. So I think Bush is right to veto the bill. There's a reason why the US has the best quality health care in the world, and it's because the gov't (for the most part) is not involved. The closer we get to socialized medicine, the more that that will change. And quality of care will plummet, while costs skyrocket. Like someone said: If you think health care is expensive now, just wait 'till it's free.

But the Dems have pounced. They cherish the notion of more people dependent on the gov't. Why? Well, this is the foundation of their party. The more people who depend on the gov't, the more will vote Democrat. They are the party of gov't entitlements. Let's not kid ourselves. This isn't about taking care of children, folks. This is about politics as usual.

We ALL want kids to have health care. So we can stop with the "mean conservative" attacks. The fact is, a family making 83K a year can afford health coverage, that's already been noted ni the statistics. So I don't see where anyone can make an argument that expanding the bill is necessary. Again, 77% of eligible children already have health coverage. The idea isn't to get them health care. The idea is to get them GOVERNMENT FUNDED health care, and thus get them dependent on big brother. Yet, the rhetoric pours in:

Sen. John Kerry: "so help me, children will die, and some will end up with permanent disabilities." This is an off-the-cuff remark. There is no clinical evidence that expanding this bill would save lives. In fact, I could argue that shifting people from private care to gov't funded care would be detrimental.

Nancy Pelosi: "the Bush veto would prevent 10 million children from obtaining any health care at all." This is an outright lie! As mentioned, SCHIP already covers 7 million children. Pelosi's bill would only include 3 million more, of which 77% already have private health insurance. So what's the point? What good can this bill, and the $35 billion, actually do?

This is nothing but a power grab by Dems, and the power they seek is power over the American people who currently have choices in health care. Once we give up that power and become dependent on the gov't for anything, including health care, then we become part of the Democrat party's voting block...and they know it.

The GOP Congress cut noncitizen immigrants from the Medicaid rolls in 1996 and they were assaulted with the same "heartless" attacks. But Harvard economist George Borjas did a study and he found that after losing gov't coverage, a large proportion of these workers sought better jobs with better health coverage to the point that their overall insurance levels actually increased. Go figure, a free market society actually works better for the people! Take the gov't out of the picture and the people fare better. Why would SCHIP be any different?

Everyone wants to take care of the children, even cold-hearted conservatives like myself. And we all want to see the uninsured get health care. But there's a right way to do this. I've posted before on the multi-pronged approach to solving our uninsured problem. The right way doesn't involve the government. The AMA is wrong. The Democrats are wrong. Vetoing this bill was the right thing to do and I applaud the president for it. Government-funded health care would be a disaster.

Plus, there is nothing in the Constitution mandating the government to provide anything to the people except for liberty and military protection. Let's not over step our bounds.

9 comments:

Shane said...

Great post - bringing together all the information for a deeper look into this atrocious "capped spending program." Unfortunately I think the Dems play this game better than the Repubs, so I expect healthcare to be a big issue in the upcoming election.

We'll need more than dry logic - we'll need to rebut the seductive call for free goodies - always a tough job.

The Loop Garoo kid said...

Doctor,

Perhaps the President was right to veto this bill. The administration was certainly wrong, as were you, when you stated that families w/ incomes of $82K would be eleigible for the program. This was simply not true and Republican senators who supportedc the bill were quick to point out that this was not true. If it was not true, why are citing it as fact?

Meanwhile, one need only to look at Canada and Great Britain to observe the shortcomings of socialized medicine. One need only to look at the United Staes to observe the failure of the private sector to deliver medical services. Figures vary depending on the source, but one study I read recently said that in 1998, the most recent year for which reliable figures are available, 57-59 million people lacked health insurance at some point during the year. This figure represents about one quarter of the non elderly population.

I note your reference to a multipronged approached that you have proposed in previous comments. Can you give me the cites?

Regards.

SNAKE HUNTERS said...

John, a fine commentary.

The same old cycle; From abundance
to complacency, from complacency to
to apathy, From Apathy, back to Government Dependency...to a loss of self-reliance and courage!

If you get "something for nothing" the productive guy pays. Yep! That's "wealth redistribution". reb
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www.lazyonebenn.blogspot.com

Allisoni Balloni said...

"Of course, those attacking him don't care much about the millions of innocents aborted each year in this country, but that's another post."

Interestingly enough, caring about people once they are born is also beneficial. There are so many people, namely Republicans and Conservatives, who are pro-life but also war supporters, and that is a complete contradiction.

SNAKE HUNTERS said...

When Our Fundamental Principles have been under attack since November 4, 1979 by an Ancient Theocracy...

It Is Time For All Of Us To Unite, Vigorously Confront It. Pro-life, and Supporting Our War Effort Is No Contradiction!
>>
Ignor-ance of history is no excuse;
Ignor-ance of Global Jihad can be
a deadly mistake! reb
__________________________________
www.lazyonebenn.blogspot.com

John Washburn said...

Being a war supporter is not a contradiction to being pro-life. How many lives were saved by our actions in WWII? There are many Jews out there who would gladly answer that question. How many lives did we save in killing Saddam and his sons? War is evil, Allisoni, but sometimes necessary. Admitting that does not contradict someone's pro-life position. In fact, it's being pro-life that often motivates us to stop atrocities on this planet, even if war is required to do so.

One day this reality will sink in with you.

BB-Idaho said...

"One day this reality will sink in with you." The reality is that war at it's very noblest is ugly.
The reality is that reasons for going to war vary greatly in our perceptions. Most of us would agree that self-defense should be a cause for war. The reality IMHO,
based on conversation and poll data, is that pre-emptively invading a distant land is thought by approximately 28% to be a noble cause. But, I doubt that "One day this reality will sink in with you"

John Washburn said...

How did a post about health care turn into a discussion about Iraq?

BB, I agree with you 100%. The difference between us is what constitutes self-defense. You seem to think that war is only justified against a nation that attacks us first. I, on the other hand, feel it is justified if that nation poses a significant threat of attack. I would rather not wait for American civillians to die. That's a discussion that can go on forever, let's just call it a fundamental difference of opinion.

But, if we adhered to your criteria, we wouldn't have gone to war with the Nazis or the Italian fascists. We wouldn't have invaded Afghanistan or Iraq. Milosevic and Hussein would both still be in power. The entire Korean peninsula would be under communist rule, as would all of Central America. And there would be nukes in Cuba.

However, we still would have gone to war in Vietnam, and the Spanish-American war still would have taken place.

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Dr.

I am genuinely interested in your solutions to health care. wgee toi look for your prior comments?