Sunday, October 14, 2007

SCHIP: Middle Class Guilt

I found this letter in yesterday's Chicago Tribune

She was for it before she was against it. My representative, Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), was one of 16 U.S. House Republicans, including Illinois' Mark Kirk, who originally supported the Senate version of the bipartisan children's health care (SCHIP) bill recently passed by Congress. The compromise hammered out in the House closely mirrors the Senate version, but Ms. Biggert voted against it. She was quoted as saying, "It would push Americans one step closer to socialized medicine."

This despite support from 72 percent of all Americans, according to a recent poll, the health insurance industry, the AARP, the American Medical Association, governors from both parties and many children's health advocates.

What happened? The "socialized medicine" tag is a fallacious argument. The SCHIP bill is a state block grant program that protects our children while still being served through private health care providers.

If this measure takes us down the slippery slide toward socialism, what then of our other "socialized" programs? Would she then recommend we abolish Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration services, police and fire protection, libraries or our public schools? Can't these public programs and institutions be better served through the private marketplace?

Fortunately I, and most voters in DuPage County, will not have to take advantage of this health care package for our 10 million uninsured or underinsured children. Most of us already have private health care plans funded through our employers, unlike her own "socialized" government-funded plan.

Regardless of the negative "socialized" tag, isn't this program that was originally enacted by Republicans in our children's best interests? I strongly implore Biggert to change her vote when President Bush's veto sends it back to the House. We owe it to our children.

Chris Wallgren
Downers Grove

Now, for everyone not familiar with the Chicagoland area, Downers Grove is a fairly affluent suburb of Chicago. As this person indicates, they are fairly affluent themselves, and they would probably never come close to needing SCHIP themselves.

Fortunately I, and most voters in DuPage County, will not have to take advantage of this health care package for our 10 million uninsured or underinsured children. Most of us already have private health care plans funded through our employers, unlike her own "socialized" government-funded plan.

Clearly again, the rule of what's in it for me doesn't apply. Here is an individual that cares not about their own situation and wants to the compassionate thing. In fact, they end their letter with this impassioned plea

We owe it to our children.

Not everyone's children of course, this person is perfectly happy with the private health insurance that they get for their entire family through their own employer. In fact, the overwhelming majority of their county, Dupage, will have no need for SCHIP. Yet, this voter wants their representative, Judy Biggert, to support a bill that her constituents will have no use for.

So, what is going on here? SCHIP is a late night infomercial run wild. Instead of helping some poor kids in Africa, the affluent are now ready to help some poor nameless child somewhere in America. Only these children aren't starving, their parents just can't seem to find a way to afford to pay for their own kid's health insurance. The more important difference between the infomercial and SCHIP, is that they don't want this to be optional. No, they want the government to make sure that this is done. As one of my readers put it, it's the Christian thing to do.

In the name of Jesus, what is wrong with helping to provide for the common good? Did Jesus say at the sermon on the mount, "Blessed are those financially well off enough to pay for private medical insurance?" Did He say "Blessed are the ones who only serve their self interests?"

Since when did health become a privelage? Does the Declaration of Independance say "...the privelage of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...?" Doesn't the Constitution say "...promote the general Welfare...?"

Charity of course is a choice, and I see none of these so called compassionates in the Middle Class rushing out to pay for someone else's health insurance, which would really be the Christian thing to do, but it is important to note that this sort of nonsensical, yet emotional arguement works.

The polls show it.

A new poll released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the State Children's Health Insurance Program
(SCHIP), which provides states with federal funds to design health insurance programs for vulnerable children.Nearly nine in 10 voters (86%) say they support
reauthorizing SCHIP, with a clear majority (63%) saying they support expanding SCHIP's budget by an additional $35 billion over five years.

Put a poor child in front of someone and they will let all reason and thought go out the window. Most will respond with compassion. Sledding is tough if you are on my side of the debate. All we have is statistics, logic and reason. We don't have the children.

Unfortunately, such is life in the world of elitist thought. They are the compassionate and concerned ones, while the rest of us are money hungry, greedy, capitalists who only think about ourselves. We don't care about the children.

Even words like SOCIALIZED medicine doesn't work on the general public and the polls show that as well .

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey highlights both the opportunity and the challenge for those who want to reform the U.S. health care system . The survey found that just 31% of American voters rate the system as good or excellent. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say fair and 39% poor.

Even among those who have health insurance, just 32% say the system is good or excellent while 38% say poor (NOTE: 83% of those surveyed have health insurance). This supports survey data released last week showing that 62% believe major changes are needed in the nation's health care system.

However, while unhappy with the situation overall, 72% of those with insurance rate their own coverage as good or excellent. Twenty-one percent (21%) say fair and only 6% say poor. Given these attitudes, the vast majority of voters will tend to be wary of any change unless they are completely assured that it will not impact their own insurance coverage.

Again, the old rule of what's in it for me doesn't apply. People are generally happy with their own situation but they think the overall situation is dire. Sure, how many times have the Dems used the number of uninsured, about 40 million, as a political tool. Most people look at their own situation and feel guilty. Never mind of course that about one third of those uninsured are here illegally, another third are uninsured only while they are in between jobs, and many of the the rest choose to be uninsured. Remember, it is for the children and all those poor folks that just didn't have the breaks the affluent got. If you aren't for helping them out, you are standing with those wicked, wicked insurance companies, drug manufacturers, and doctors.

Reality is really wholly unimportant. Let's never mind that socialized medicine has proven to be a failure everywhere it has been tried. If you aren't for every major expansion of government, you aren't for the children. If you aren't for the children, you invariably lose any debate.

So, what is the answer. Well, for one thing, our side needs to be as cut throat as the other side. Every child the Dems bring out as a model of compassion toward children, needs to have their family's finances hyper analyzed just to make sure they really are that needy. The Dems trotted out Graeme Frost to deliver their address vis a vis SCHIP a few weeks ago.

It turns out the parents of this poor needy child, own a home, a business, three automobiles, and each of their four kids goes to a private school. Then, our side needs to make the link. What invariably happens to bloated government programs: CORRUPTION. Which means your tax dollars my tax dollars, won't go to save the children but to support the lazy, the stupid, and the devious.

For instance, did you know that a trust fund baby can qualify for SCHIP in forty six of 50 states? Since those states have no asset test trust fund babies, those that have no jobs, can qualify for SCHIP. Now, when someone is saying that it is for the children, do you think they mean trust fund babies?

Finally, it is time that people like me stop leading on this issue, and the Reps lead themselves. They have been loathed to criticize the Dems and their tactics for fear of further being labeled mean. They continue to perpetuate their much deserved label as wimps. I will say it. The Frost's have corrupted the system, and there are plenty of further Frost's out there. The answer is not to expand the system but to tighten it.

The government is not our friend and anytime it expands then I simply quote from Reagan, "the nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'" Even if they are trying to help the children.


Daniel said...

SCHIP is a mess. While I'm against it in any way it's presented, what makes it truly sickening and makes people's ignorance shine is that the bill leaves behind the 5.4 million children that are uninsured who are at, below, or darn near poverty. And it taxes the poor--1/3 of those at or below poverty are smokers; only 1/5 of adults above poverty smoke. More of the money comes from the more affluent, yes, but it's a bigger burden on the poor.

You're right, we don't have the children on our side--we have the poor and the poor children. Those in support of the bill have the middle class children, where 85% of them already are insured (and 1/3 of those already insured would be covered by the expansion of SCHIP).

SCHIP will go down as another battle of popular opinion vs. well-researched conclusions and economics, much like minimum wage (it's almost literally undisputed in economics that minimum wage is bad for the economy).

Philanthropy should always remain voluntary. This is a wonderful blog post. Thank you and God bless.

mike volpe said...

I totally agree and I would just add that there is no way that SCHIP in its expanded for could ever be supported merely by an increase in the tax on cigarettes and cigars. The reality is that sin taxes never work. They are popular because no one has any problems raising taxes on people that do harm, however they never work. They are another in the long line of well meaning though ultimately failed government policies that my favorite Reagan quote applies to...

"the nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'"