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SCHIP - The Numbers
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I know a bunch of you guys are thinking "what's with all this SCHIP stuff, enough already".

It's important. Why? Because this is one of many battles to come that showcase the Democratic strategy of incrementalism. If you can't pass major legislation such as government run health care, what should you do? Why incrementally pass legislation that implements it piece by piece, of course. And the SCHIP expansion (and get this clear, folks, this is about the expansion of the program) is the prefect case in point.

So why keep fighting this battle? If you recall, it was a few short weeks ago when Democrats were running around touting polls that showed that over 70% of the people agreed with them and wanted their legislation passed. That was before a blitz by the right which started getting the facts out about what was really in that legislation and why it wasn't a good idea as written.

The principle purpose of the program was to offer health insurance to cover children of families who couldn't afford it. Got that? Yet under the Democrat plan, a significant portion of those who would be eligible already have insurance (which means they can obviously afford it) and, as expected, a significant number would drop their insurance for that provided by the state:
Of the newly eligible children, 30 percent to 35 percent would be shifted from private insurance, Heritage projects.
That is not the purpose of the original law.

Remember too that it is a law designed to insure "children".
In Minnesota, for example, 87 percent of the beneficiaries of the State Children’s Health Insurance program are adults. That’s 5,243 children and 34,313 adults. In Wisconsin, it’s 66 percent. That’s 56,627 children and 110,298 adults. In New Jersey, it’s 38 percent adults; in Arizona, 53 percent and in Michigan, 46.
That is not the purpose of the original law.

Part of the effort by the right has been an attempt to counter the emotional "for the children" arguments the left is so fond of using with facts and figures like you see above. And its working. A poll issued today shows that Americans aren't quite as in love with the Democrats legislation once they hear the details:
• 52% agree with Bush that most benefits should go to children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level — about $41,000 for a family of four. Only 40% say benefits should go to families earning up to $62,000, as the bill written by Democrats and some Republicans would allow.

• 55% are very or somewhat concerned that the program would create an incentive for families to drop private insurance. Bush and Republican opponents have called that a step toward government-run health care.

Taken together, the results show that while Bush may be losing the political battle with Democrats, he may be doing better on policy.
What Americans are saying is they don't mind paying for the original law, which was aimed at those who couldn't afford health insurance and are real, honest-to-goodness children. That's a vote for the law in its present form, not the expansion the Democrats want.

And although it hasn't been a huge topic of conversation, its just as important to look at voodoo funding numbers the Democrats claim will cover their expansion:
[A] 61-cents-per-pack hike in tobacco taxes will fund the proposed expansion. The Washington-based Heritage Foundation studied that promise and found that 22 million more people would have to take up smoking for the math to work. But, then, the cost-projection numbers are phony.

The Senate bill, the lesser of the two in terms of cost, increases spending from the current $5.6 billion per year to $13.9 billion in 2012 — and then projects the cost to drop 69 percent in 2013 to $7.8 billion and to $4.8 billion the next, Heritage points out. It’s phony.
22 million new smokers necessary to fund the expansion? Does anyone see the pure irony in such a "health care" proposal to begin with? And then, to pretend that there will be a drop in spending on a health insurance program which is expanding? That's absurd on its face. Name a single solitary such program that a) has ever cost only what it was projected and b) then saw its cost drop as it got further and further out.

The good news is the facts are finally starting to overwhelm the fantasy and the emotional arguments Democrats have been using to get this legislation passed. And, if they find their spines, the Republicans can use the poll as an indication that standing firm on this issue of expanding the program - as the Democrats hope to do - isn't going to hurt them. That means Bush's veto should stand.

The bad news, of course, is this isn't the last time you'll see this tactic used. We will continue to be seen from now on and unless you're aware of it, you can't counter it and hopefully stop it in its tracks.
 
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Well, heh, they can kill two birds with one stone, and just have rich kids start smoking.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I think Bush may pull this one out:
• 52% agree with Bush that most benefits should go to children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level — about $41,000 for a family of four. Only 40% say benefits should go to families earning up to $62,000, as the bill written by Democrats and some Republicans would allow.

• 55% are very or somewhat concerned that the program would create an incentive for families to drop private insurance. Bush and Republican opponents have called that a step toward government-run health care.
From a USA today poll...

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Before the Intranet, this would have been a done deal.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
I didn’t watch it, but Howard Dean apparently laid out the incrementalism plan in plain view:

Last night, Howard Dean was asked on C-Span, ‘Why not universal health care?’, responded that it was impossible to do in one svelte move because of the power of the insurance lobby. He then went on to propose lowering Medicare eligibility to 55 and have all those under 30 included. We all know that Howard Dean is bright but this is especially good. His thinking went along these lines: Lowering the eligibility to 55 takes the strain off corporate America. And, as everyone knows, men over 50 finding themselves unemployed are up the proverbial creek without a paddle in part because insurance companies are telling employers not to hire anyone over 50. With insurance no longer a problem, men and women over fifty would have a better shot at reentry and society could utilize their experience. In re covering those under 30, it doesn’t cost anything to insure this particular group. Beautiful. It’s feasible, and it’s a great transitional first step toward universal coverage. Of course, he may not have said this exactly, but it was all there.

I’ve heard Rahm Emanuel make the same argument that Universal Healthcare can’t be done without incrementalism.
 
Written By: m.jed
URL: http://
By the way, each Democrat in the race has a plan for mandatory insurance which theoretically lowers everyone’s rate as the young and healthy are forced to be part of the pool.

That’s not going to work if you start offering SCHIP to higher income brackets along with adults.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

 
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