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.