Thursday, August 02, 2007

Newt: Low-Income Children Not Worth $1.00

It doesn’t exactly get top billing on CNN, especially when Lindsay Lohan might be drunk somewhere, but the house and senate are looking at bills to expand the Children’s Insurance Program (CHIP), a state-federal program to provide health insurance for the kids of families that are too poor to afford private health care but too “rich” to be on Medicaid (i.e., 200% of the poverty level). The house is suggesting a $50 billion expansion over 5 years; the senate says $35 B over 5 years (right now we’re spending about $5 billion a year on it, and it helps insure 6.6 million kids). Both bills would pay for the increase primarily with an increase in cigarette taxes, though the house also includes a reduction in Medicare payouts to private health care providers.

I know you’re not going to believe this, but the party of family values is dead set against the expansion. Oh, I’m sorry, they’re not against expansion: the president has graciously proposed an extra $5 billion over 5 years. The Congressional Budget Office predicts it’ll cost $14.4 billion just to keep CHIP funded at its current level, what with constant skyrocketing health care costs, so W’s basically offering a massive cut to the program.

But he’s an idiot, you say, no reasonable person is going to oppose a little funding to insure poor kids. Certainly no one who ever wants to win an election again (like Medicare and Social Security, the CHIP program is hugely popular with regular people). Well, you’re half right: enter the Newt!

This effort makes the left's intentions exceedingly clear: Through tax increases, political payoffs, and a slow bleeding of private health insurance, they seek to push the American people into Washington-controlled bureaucratic health care.

Yeah, that Washington-based health care, that stuff sucks. I mean, nothing that Washington does about health care is ever good. And I knew the left was behind it.

H.R. 3162 masquerades as a children's health insurance bill, but it actually sows the seeds of eliminating private insurance as we know it. And it begins by driving the private sector and all its innovations out of Medicare.

Okay, so one tiny exception to the Washington-based-health-care-is-crap thing: Medicare. Medicare isn’t totally awful.

If the budget cuts alone are not enough to drive private insurers out of Medicare, the policy changes to the program will surely be. One prohibits private insurers from offering alternative plan designs from traditional Medicare, meaning that many if not all the benefits outlined above would be illegal. But the left does not stop with Medicare.

Hmm. Sounds like Newt is saying that not only is Medicare tolerable, but it must be protected at all costs. And is Newt saying he’s against budget cuts? Dude, you’re off the reservation here.

But Newt doesn’t stop there. He warns us that this house bill contains a massive tax increase for all Americans, not just the smokers (who, by the way, cost us buttloads in health care costs). Perhaps the largest tax increase in history, right, Newt?

The left will say that this new tax increase amounts to little more than $1 on every senior and insured American and is hardly worth complaining about. But have you ever heard of a tax that wasn't increased? Remember that the top income tax bracket was only 1% at its inception. It reached 94 percent during the 1940s and stayed at 91 percent until the mid 1960s.

What the hell? You’re bitching about a $1.00 tax to insure millions of poor kids? That is freaking sick, man, sick. But at least you’re back on the reservation. And great job with the taxes-only-increase example. If the top income bracket was 91% in the 60s, it must be around 150% by now, right? Except that it’s 35%. Another homerun, Newtie.

Let's get real. CHIP is a massively popular program that helps millions of kids get the health care they need. A relatively small increase in funding would insure millions more. Of course it's not a perfect program, but revisions over the years have made it better and better. You'd have to be a heartless jackass who hates children to be against this bill. I wonder how the voting will turn out. . .

Update! The house passed the bill, largely on a party-line vote. Dig it:

But in the end, the Democrats had weapons that were just too powerful -- a promise to insure 5 million more children who otherwise would have no access to health care, adding to the 6 million children already covered -- and the backing of Republican and Democratic governors, the American Medical Association, AARP, the March of Dimes, the Catholic Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and even cyclist Lance Armstrong. And the prospects are good in the Senate, where a key Republican, Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), said, "It's difficult for me to understand how anyone wouldn't want to do this."
So pretty much everybody but the house republicans supports it. Oh wait, there's one other guy who's got their back. President 26% has threatened to veto it. Very compassionate of him.


Anonymous said...

Why should I support YOUR kids? Why should I pay for their health care? That's not my job, it's YOURS! I pay for my kids, you pay for yours. It's called being a grown up, and responsible. Enough of my tax dollars already support people who won't bother with an education so they can get a decent job to pay for their health care.

Your BDS is showing.

Otto Man said...

I'd like to thank Anonymous for showing up to brief us on the Republican platform for 2008: "I got mine, fuck you!" That's going to look great on a bumper sticker.

I'm sure you're right -- the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance right now are just there because of laziness. And spite.

As far as Bush Derangement Syndrome, that's clearly why Orrin Hatch and Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Mitt Romney are supporting CHIP. They just hate Bush so much, they'll do anything!

Smitty said...

Ah yes. The Guy Who Divorced His Cancer-Striken Wife hates kids too. Color me shocked.

At least the House and Senate have figured out how to pass a bill without the minority party holding it up.

I Got Mine, Fuck You. Priceless, OM. Best laugh I'v had all day. That fact is made sweeter in light that it is directed at the 26%-er "anonymous."

sideshow bob said...

Oh no...what will we do without all of the private insurance "innovations"?

I do think anonymous has a point, though: Why should I pay for roads that YOU drive on (I've already heard people blaming the Minneapolis bridge collapse on welfare recipients), or police to protect YOU from burglars and rapists, or public schools for YOUR kids?

(BTW, Anonymous's little rant reminds me of Homer's admonishing of Bart when he's dropped off at Le Maison Derierre.)

Otto Man said...

Conservatives like Anonymous apparently long for a world in which those who can afford it live in well-stocked, heavily-armed fortresses and the rest of the hoi polloi are left to roam the wasteland.

Today's Republican Party: Proudly Building a Bridge to the 12th Century.

Wes said...

It's just so...refreshing when the hardcore libertarian schmucks drop the veneer of civilization and decency and show us their REAL vision of society.

I remain convinced that not a one of these wannabe Randroids would end up at Galt's Gulch, unless eating Cheetos and jacking off to war porn is somehow an entrée into The Home Of The Super-Creative.

Go build a bridge in Minnesota, jerk. On second thought, stay the hell away from the infrastructure.


S.W. Anderson said...

Sideshow Bob used my line of argument. I'll add, why should I have to help pay for firefighting protection for anonymous' home or business? Or anyone else's?

Hey, anon, if I refused that and everyone else refused that, a fire could spread to my place? Get it?!?

So, if you lack even an ounce of human compassion, decency and generosity, could you at least muster a little enlightened self-interest?

(Say, is Grover Norquist cruising the blogs under the "anonymous" name tag these days? Nothing would surprise me.)

Mrs_Thrillhous said...

It makes me crazy when people rail against abortion, but then do nothing to help children post-womb.

Some quick research revealed that the government was spending $26 billion in 2004 on health insurance premiums for its employees, retirees, and dependents. Surely kids who can't help how much/little their parents earn deserve some health care too!

Thrillhous said...

The other guys took care of the snap, so let me just follow up on SWA's point about self interest. Let's agree for a moment that $1.00 is an awful lot to pay to insure millions of poor kids. What's in it for us fat cats who have our own insurance?

Here's what. Just because those kids are uninsured doesn't mean they don't get health care. When they get sick and don't get better, they end up in the ER. A doctor can treat a mild bacterial infection for a few dollars, but once that infection has blown up into a life-threatening problem and the kid is in ER, we're talking tens of thousands of dollars. Guess who pays? We do, in the form of higher health care costs.

That's bad, but try this. It's 1 am on Friday night, and your kid has been screaming sick for hours. You take him/her to the ER, only to wait for 2, maybe 3 hours to get treatment. Why so long? A good portion of those people don't have health care and end up in the ER as a last resort. Fewer people in the ER, shorter waits for you and your loved ones.

Still not enough? How about this. Finally, after waiting for 2 hours at the ER, your child miserable the whole time, the doc sees you. Turns out he's got an illness that he probably picked up at school. Sure, any kid could have been the carrier, but guess what? Poor, uninsured children are far more likely to be sent to school with contractible illnesses than better off kids.

So you're going to be getting a lot out of that $1.00. And that's not even considering the moral stuff. I doubt you're still around, Anon, but you're missing out on a great deal.