Skip to comments.No to Medicaid for the middle class
Posted on 07/23/2007 4:57:09 AM PDT by Kaslin
The Senate Finance Committee has approved a major expansion of SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program. President Bush had proposed expanding its $25 billion budget by $5 billion. But the committee has approved the Democrats' initiative to expand this government program far more aggressively.
Under the proposal, 50 percent more children will be covered by SCHIP through an increase in funding of $35 billion. The cost will be financed by a tax hike on cigarettes of 61 cents per pack.
More health-care coverage for children. More taxes on tobacco. Sounds like a winner, right?
Not at all. Responsible senators should vote against this major step toward further socialization of American health care. And if Congress does pass this, the president should veto it.
The reason for the launch of the SCHIP program in 1997 was affordability of health care. The point was to finance health care for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, almost half of our nation's children have government-paid health care either through Medicaid or SCHIP.
This new proposed expansion would entrench government health care more deeply into the nation's middle class.
Whereas SCHIP coverage has commonly covered families earning up to 200 percent above the poverty line, the new proposal lifts this ceiling to 300 percent. According to the Congressional Budget Office, up to 75 percent of families in this income range already have private coverage.
Because the program is administered at the state level, coverage guidelines vary and in some cases have even included adults.
Meanwhile, as we extend last-resort government medical coverage for the poor into the middle class, increasing numbers of physicians are refusing to participate in Medicaid because of inadequate compensation.
But let's get back to the core issue: runaway health-care costs and accessibility of coverage.
Why, in a country of abundance such as ours, where practically everything just gets cheaper and more accessible, does health care stand out in just getting more expensive?
Or to put it another way: Name any product or service that is delivered in a competitive free market that has not gotten cheaper over time.
This should provide a hint to the problem in health care. Despite what our Democratic Party leadership would have us believe, the increasing costs and inaccessibility of health care is the result of excessive government interference in this market as opposed to not enough.
You'd think that our representatives in Washington would want to fix these distortions so that health care could be delivered more freely and hence more cheaply, imaginatively and abundantly.
But this doesn't sit well with the political-power-loving class in Washington. It would rather do what the Senate Finance Committee has just done: Ignore the real problems and then expand government even more to try and cover those who fall through the cracks.
As a result, we get Medicaid for middle-class America and children getting health care from different suppliers than their parents. Brilliant!
Bush offered a creative proposal in his State of the Union address this year that would start addressing the problem at its root. It puts a $15,000 ceiling on the deductibility of employer health coverage, and offers a $15,000 tax deduction to every American family to purchase health care. This would change current economics that favor plans delivered through employers rather than purchased individually.
Yet, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who chairs the health subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, declared the president's proposal dead on arrival and said no hearings would be held.
The proposal alone might not deliver gold-plated plans to working-class Americans. But it certainly would increase the accessibility of basic coverage.
Leveling the tax field is just a start.
We need to allow a national market in health-care delivery to emerge to replace the crazy quilt of separate state-regulated fiefdoms, and to fix our tort-law system that requires young medical-school graduates to spend tens of thousands of dollars on malpractice insurance in order to start practicing their profession.
Health care follows the same laws of supply and demand as every other good or service.
It's not an accident why, as Regina Herzlinger of the Harvard Business School explained recently in a Wall Street Journal column, we don't see innovation and entrepreneurship in the delivery of health care like we see in every other marketplace. As she explains, the health-care marketplace is too controlled and constrained by government regulations.
Americans should refuse to tolerate this latest move by our political class to address failure with more of the same. We need freer markets in health care, not more government.
at the rate we’re going michael moore could have waited a few years and filmed his movie in this country.
Consider how difficult it is to find a doctor who will take patients with low “reimbursement” (payment for work done) from CHIP and Medicaid vs. finding doctors on private insurance plans, which usually at least cover office overhead. Now, consider what happens if 50% more families switch from private employer based insurance to CHIP.
10 years ago, when I accepted Medicaid, I used to have families switch and I didn’t like seeing my payment for prenatal postnatal care and delivery dropping $400-800 for families who could afford more children because I got paid less for the same work, for the same family. For the rest of the family’s healthcare, I lost $20 dollars or so per visit.
Our State Rep pointed out that with the 3X poverty level cut-off and his 7 kids, his family came very close to qualifying, with the family allowable income at nearly $80,000 for a family of 9.
Congress will just pass a law mandating that physicians participate in Medicaid. (Then when nobody wants to go to medical school anymore, they'll just pass a law mandating that so many people are forced to go to medical school--they'll make it free to go.) Problem solved.
Gasoline. But one reason why it has not gotten cheaper is because of the taxes levied on it and government regulations regarding its production and delivery. So it's debatable whether it's actually delivered in a free market.
our congress: don't worry, someone will hire a quack
Given the restrictions on where we can smoke and who cannot purchase tobacco, this may be difficult. I’d have to smoke my three packs almost entirely on the weekends (the ones I don’t have to fly on), and frankly kids or no I don’t think I could do it.
What you say is true, but because gasoline is a commodity it follows the laws of supply and demand more than other goods and services.
Demand is increasing due to the rising affluence of China and India. These countries are purchacing gasoline at an increasing rate. This coupled with some of the refining capacity being cut do to hurricanes and floods supply has been restricted.
The current upward trend in gasoline prices I believe is temporary. As has been said rising prices are their own solution. As prices rise exploration and development will increase supply and prices will fall again.
What do education and health care have in common? The price is going up, and they are both subsidized by government.
Every time the government gets involved, the price goes up. But hey, the bureaucrats need to feed, too.
I can see the billboards now, Help a child, Smoke three packs a day.
Nothing here about the $10 per cigar tax that he talked about.
No, he was talking about that the bill included adults up to age 25. He gave an example for instance that if a couple age 23 and 24 have two children then all four are included
It's not, beginning at the source, with OPEC.
It does not take too many brain cells to figure this socialist plan out. It’s by the book.
Use a group of people that are currently demonized to finance your program in order to get people on board. “After all, we can get people to go along with this because they hate the smokers and it makes them happy to see them pay. Gee, its all for the kids too.”
They know this tobacco tax will not be enough, when the money gets tight, you raise taxes to all citizens to finance it or else the poor kids will suffer.
The socialists purposely love splitting and demonizing groups of people to play against each other for their plans. They count on us being stupid.
Michael Moore and the Democrats are working together.
We are spending too much on entitlements already. The Democrats are taking the money of all taxpayers to buy votes for themselves. This is a form of corruption. We have a useless, self-serving political class in Washington.
In nominal terms gasoline is not cheaper than it used to be, but in real terms gasoline has gotten cheaper in spite of increased government regulations and all the excise taxes imposed on it.
“Michael Moore and the Democrats are working together.”