But it’s "for the children" (update) Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Except many of the children are those of middle class families who have access to or are already covered under private health insurance plans (this is the SCHIP program):
The Bush administration, continuing its fight to stop states from expanding the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, has adopted new standards that would make it much more difficult for New York, California and others to extend coverage to children in middle-income families.
Administration officials outlined the new standards in a letter sent to state health officials on Friday evening, in the middle of a month-long Congressional recess. In interviews, they said the changes were aimed at returning the Children’s Health Insurance Program to its original focus on low-income children and to make sure the program did not become a substitute for private health coverage.
This is simply an underhanded attempt to incrementally expand government welfare to a new level - an important step down the road to single-payer, government run health insurance.
Of course it is being characterized as an attempt to deny poor children "free" health care. It's not. It specifically denies the attempt, by some states, to raise the bar for acceptance to 400% over the poverty rate which means the inclusion of some households making $80,000 a year and "children" up to the age of 25.
The poverty level for a family of four is $20,650 in annual income. New York now covers children in families with income up to 250 percent of the poverty level. The State Legislature has passed a bill that would raise the limit to 400 percent of the poverty level — $82,600 for a family of four — but the change is subject to federal approval.
California wants to increase its income limit to 300 percent of the poverty level, from 250 percent. Pennsylvania recently raised its limit to 300 percent, from 200 percent. New Jersey has had a limit of 350 percent for more than five years.
Democrats whine about budget deficits and how they're all in favor of balancing the budget and then propose and support legislation which increases spending and dependence on government.
When Congress created the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997, it said the purpose was to cover “uninsured low-income children.” Under the law, states are supposed to make sure public coverage “does not substitute for coverage under group health plans;” but the law did not specify what states must do.
In an interview today, Mr. Smith said: “The program was always meant for children in lower-income families. As states move higher up the income scale, it’s more likely to substitute for private coverage.”
And that's not the law as envisioned, proposed or passed.
But Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York said that, “contrary to the senators’ objections,” federal law allows states to set higher income limits.
“Granting this expansion is essential to the health and well-being of New York’s children,” Mr. Spizter said.
Well then let New York pay for its plan. If New York feels it is essential to expand the program for the "well-being of New York's children, then tax New York's citizens. Federalism at its finest. But stay the heck out of my pocket.
Naturally, though, that's not what Spitzer really wants, is it? Nor do any of the states. They feel entitled to abuse the law and then dun the American taxpayer, in general, for their magnanimity.
UPDATE: An example of the argument coming from the left on this can be found here.
Others on the Right are complaining that the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program would extend welfare benefits to middle-class families. But as Quinn writes, the shock of losing health insurance is rapidly becoming a middle class problem. Insurance has become so expensive — if you have to pay for it privately, you’ll probably find it costs a lot more than your mortgage — that even middle income families lose health insurance if they lose their benefits.
Apparently the thing Jane Bryant Quinn doesn't mention is that the insurance probably wouldn't cost anywhere near your mortgage cost if there weren't umpteen state mandates which dictate a certain level of coverage (which may not at all be necessary but exclude you from buying a basic health insurance policy for much less money) as has been mentioned before.
More importantly, the paragraph quickly demonstates the mind-set of the left which sees government as the savior and "go-to" agency if life throws you a spitball. It is the guarantor of your "happiness" even though it, as the cost mandates demonstrate, is probably the source of the problem to begin with.
The public wants health care. Democrats are trying to bring health care coverage to more people. Republicans understand this will cause more people to appreciate the value of government, so they are trying to block efforts to bring health care coverage to more children. Also, government health care is much more efficient than corporate insurance programs. Which means cronies don't make big profits.
Yup, nothing like appreciating even more government intervention in our lives ... I mean that is among the founding principles under which this government was formed in the beginning, isn't it?
I think there should be some flexibility in defining what it means to be "poor" in each state. In Utah, a family can own a modest home, buy health insurance, and live relatively comfortably on an income that in New York City or Los Angeles would barely pay for rent and food. A fixed percentage of some average national poverty level isn’t going to do the job. If they’re going to provide health coverage for poor kids, I’d rather see it tied to median income in that state, even though it would mean that some states would get more SCHIP money than others, usually in proportion to their irresponsibility in passing laws that result in increased cost of living.
A social worker recently gave us an application for CHIP, even though I already told her we have very good health insurance which my husband’s employer pays for. We pay only copays, although they can add up since our kids mostly have to see specialists. We own our home and are generally doing well in the world, and she wanted us to apply for government health insurance for the kids. Scary.