The disturbing crap that goes on in Washington and enabled by a left-leaning press makes me worry about the future of my nation. Creeping European style socialism will destroy the community fabric of America and I do not think that modern times will treat socialist nations very well over the upcoming intermediate time periods.
Now for SCHIP, a popular health insurance program for children was passed congress in 1997- Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House at that time- with bipartisan support. Apparently, legislation now has a sunset that does not allow these programs to live forever without review. I think that this is smart. In fact, Republicans were bigger House supporters of this program than the minority Democrats, as more Democrats voted against this program, 45 than Republicans, 31
. But this could have been since Democrats may have thought that it didn't give away too much or may have been voting against other parts of the bill. But these are the facts, facts that you would never ever see the media dredge up and question the Democrats about.
But lets make sure we understand the issues and history before we listen to Nancy Pelosi and the sound-bite media....
SCHIP does not cover the "poor" in the USA. The "poor" are covered under a program called Medicaid
. Medicaid, unlike the fully Federally funded Medicare that covers adults, is only partially Federally funded and is designed to be administered by States depending upon where the States think their needs are.
SCHIP covers the "working poor" or those that do not make enough to buy insurance on their own if it is not employer provided and those with incomes above the thresholds to be covered under Medicaid. In most States, a family of 4 earning up to $37,700 per year ($41,000 per year today
) would qualify to be covered by the SCHIP program as passed by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Undocumented children, such as those of illegal immigrants are not covered under SCHIP, but this decision is left up to the States that can choose to cover undocumented illegal alien children out of their own State treasuries. But these people were not covered under the original Title XXI SCHIP program.
So, what did the Democrats do? They tried to substantially increase the program and held the original program hostage to the huge step towards socializing medicine. The dangerous step by the Democrats is viewed as a win-win for them politically. If the Republican caved to this changed, then will have achieved a gigantic step towards socializing medicine, a long-term goal and if the Republican kept their senses, then they will be able to batter Republicans with class warfare soundbites accusing them of not caring about the health of "poor" people (but of course, these aren't the 'poor' that most people think about).
So what did the program that was vetoed by President Bush promise to give away? Essentially it was designed to more than double the program, from US$5 billion a year to US$12 billion
a year by raising the eligibility from 6.6 million children to 10 million, an increase of 3.4 million.
The increased costs would be 'paid' for by increasing Federal taxes on cigarettes by 61 cents a pack. Of course Democrats increase taxes to pay for stuff and never consider cutting other programs. So they will pay for this with a gigantic regressive tax on smokers. Of course, the States would have to have provided additional funds out of their treasury to meet their funding obligations on the expanded program. Either creating higher taxes or the need to reduce other programs for the unfunded part of their Federal mandate.
The original vetoed SCHIP program, allowed for an expansion of the program to children of families with incomes as high as $84,000 per year for a family of 4, clearly not in the poor territory. Also, as the income level increases, greater percentages of children are already covered by employer programs. Some children are moved away from employer paid programs to SCHIP in these scenarios for different coverage options or to save family expenses associated with co-pay and other program costs as discussed here
In a 2007 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, researchers determined that "for every 100 children who gain coverage as a result of SCHIP, there is a corresponding reduction in private coverage of between 25 and 50 children." The CBO speculates this is because the state programs offer better benefits at lower cost to enrollees than the private alternatives. A Cato Institute briefing paper estimated the "crowding out" of private insurers by the public program could be as much as 60%
. So the effectiveness of raising the limits decreases at higher and higher income levels. This is really showing the program for what it is, a shift towards socialized medicine and not a full-fledged attempt to cover needy children.
I honestly did not know the SCHIP program even existed, at a cost of $5 billion a year and covering 6.6 million children, it seems to be a very small and manageable program. However, since this program is now the bus used by the Democrats to drive socialized healthcare, then i am now against it. Democrats are only using this program and the children it covers to expand socialized medicine. and since I am a militant opposer to socialized dumbed down medicine, I am now completely against this program. Democrats have ruined a program that was originally designed for the needy and is now a political football. Shame on them.