The New York Times editorial today on SCHIP hits the nails on the head.
[According to HHS Secretary] Michael Leavitt… states that cover middle-income children as well as the poor are essentially telling people to “cancel your private insurance and we’ll have the government pay for it.”
There are several things wrong with that claim.
First, nobody who enrolls in S-chip would be living on government handouts. The families would all be paying appropriate premiums and co-payments. It is also highly unlikely that a lot of people would drop private coverage to enroll in S-chip. States already monitor such substitution and take a number of steps to deter it…
Using a broader methodology and peering into the future, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill vetoed by President Bush would increase enrollment in S-chip and Medicaid by 5.8 million in 2012. Of that total, 3.8 million children would otherwise be uninsured and 2 million would be children who could have gotten private insurance in the absence of S-chip…
From the standpoint of a child’s health, it is often a good thing to substitute S-chip for private coverage. If the available private policy has skimpy benefits or is so costly it devours a family budget with large premiums and cost-sharing, the child may not get needed medical care.
Too bad Congressmembers Tom Reynolds and Randy Kuhl, the two NAY votes on SCHIP from New York, probably don’t pay attention to the Times. Or reality, which is what the Times editorial reflects today. Here’s Reynolds explaining his opposition to the compromise House SCHIP bill he eventually voted against:
In July, I voted against the House bill because it played politics with health insurance for low-income children by requiring cuts in Medicare benefits,” said Reynolds. “I said then that I support reauthorizing SCHIP but I wouldn’t support the House bill until changes were made. The bill is moving in the right direction for an extension of SCHIP, but I still have many concerns about how the bill is written particularly concerning access to taxpayer funded healthcare and benefits for illegal immigrants and the potential of moving higher income families off of private healthcare to government run healthcare. Simply put, if the Democrats put forward a reasonable bill providing health insurance to the neediest children in our society, they have my vote. (emphasis his)
By the way, the “cuts in Medicare benefits” comment is pure dissembling. Reynolds is referring to Medicare Advantage, the privatization at the edges of the Medicare system. Because Medicare is a defined entitlement, the image of seniors losing coverage is disingenuous to the max. The image of private health insurance companies losing market share is probably the burr under the saddle here.
The House compromise bill which Reynolds later voted against conformed to the Senate version by scaling back the extent of the SCHIP increase and relying exclusively on a tobacco tax to pay for it. Still he objected, to — immigrants!
I know Rep. Reynolds has a staff, at least one of whom could have read the bill and found this nugget: SEC. 605. which clearly states: “NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS. Nothing in this Act allows Federal payment for individuals who are not legal residents.”
But there is a political temperament which feels compelled, at all times and in all places, to point out the perils of the
Blacks Jews communists Blacks again Blacks on welfare Muslims immigrants (Latino and/or Muslim, who cares? They’re them and we’re us.)
Rep. Kuhl’s blog entries on SCHIP reveal a man on a mission — I guess to debunk the creeping socialism of those to the left of him (i.e. almost everyone). And men on a mission yell “damn the
torpedoes facts, full speed ahead!” I love the paranoid red circling around pieces of the Clintons’ “plot” to socialize medicine in the 1990’s.
Also priceless, in his blog entry on “The Truth About Democrat’s False SCHIP Claims,” are his weasel words explaining that “New York’s request [to cover families up to 400% of poverty] could conceivably be grandfathered into the new bill.” Maybe, conceivably, perhaps, pretty scary, kids!
The override vote is in two days. I’ve been contacting those among these distinguished gentlemens’ constituents whom I can. But I’m not expecting any votes to change in New York, alas.