Saturday, November 24, 2007

Don't mess with the Kids

Here's one more go 'round with and issue that, according to polls, is supported strongly by 61 % of Republican voters and 86% of ALL voters.  Both President Bush and Congressman Goodlatte are spinning and spinning to avoid our recognition of their ideological rigidity on health care.  They've use the "straw man" of "socialized medicine." They have tried to scare us using some examples of the failures of  some of the European models, always presented in the worst case trying to scare us into accepting their radical position.

Fear mongering, false choices, fallacious arguments sounds like lying, but is simply the sound of radical politician trying to spin an otherwise unpopular ideology.  Folks, DON'T FALL FOR IT!  Peer through the smoke and the muck and try and figure out what the real choices are.  

I've read Jane Quinn Bryant for years and I admire her straight-forward pragmatism regarding economics.  In a recent article she does an excellent analysis of the whole SCHIP debate. 

From Jane Bryant Quinn in Newsweek on October 29, 2007:

Is SCHIP "government run"? No. Like Medicare, it's government funded but privately run. The states contract with insurance companies (usually HMOs). Many patients have a choice of plans, and pay premiums and co-pays.

Does it cover illegal aliens? No, although this is the wing nuts' nastiest slur. SCHIP doesn't even cover legal immigrants until they've been here for at least five years.

Did the bill squander taxpayers' money on the undeserving middle class? No again. It financed coverage for 3.2 million lower-income kids, including 2.5 million who are eligible but haven't been included yet. It could have paid for 600,000 more kids from families earning up to triple the poverty level ($61,950, for four). That's the income group losing health insurance today, mainly because fewer companies offer the benefit or the premiums cost too much.

Is SCHIP funding more adults than kids? No way. Adults make up fewer than 10 percent of the SCHIP population. They're insured under waivers approved by the Bush administration, back when the president supported the program. Eleven states cover pregnant women. Eleven cover low-income parents (family coverage gets more kids signed up). The bill that Bush vetoed prohibits new waivers for parents and phases single adults out of the program.

Are parents dropping private coverage to go on the government program? Some parents switch, but that can't be helped. "It's like fishing for tuna," says MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. "When you let down the tuna nets, you catch some dolphin, too."

Bush's offer on SCHIP is $4.77 billion—not enough to maintain the program as is. Monthly enrollment of children and some pregnant women would have to drop by 840,000 over five years, the Congressional Budget Office says—that is, unless the president ups his bid.

Bush favors a different program entirely—tax deductions for people, at all income levels, who buy their own group or individual coverage. An analysis of his proposal by the Lewin Group, a health-care consulting firm, found that 80 percent of the money would go to people already insured. Seventy percent would benefit families earning more than $50,000, with most of the gains in the highest brackets. Call me a wing nut, but that's really squandering money on people who can afford to pay.

It's a simple ideological principle upon which President Bush and Representative Goodlatte will not budge.  They both feel that there should be NO government funding of health care.  This ideological rigidity will deny health coverage to over a million kids. 

Ultimately all economic decisions come down to "guns or butter."  Please know that President Bush and Congressman Goodlatte support another 48 billion in war funding over and above the original budget request, yet they steadfastly veto 35 billion for children's health care. They would rather kick a million kids off the health care program than cut spending for war.  This choice is not "either, or." There will be Guns AND Butter. The choice is simply regarding what is most important to most of us? What is more in our national interest?  Supporting our citizens including our children or supporting our war-making machine?  Choose well.

Sam Rasoul for Congress in 2008

Anyone else for President!

No comments: