Thursday, September 27, 2007

SFACTS on SCHIP: Two Excerpts Worth Reading

Socialized Medicine's Front Door
By Robert Novak, RealClearPolitics, September 27, 2007

“The Alice-in-Wonderland quality of legislating in Congress was typified this week. The Democratic Congress quickly passed a national health insurance bill, drafted in secret and protected from amendment, that constitutes the most important legislation of this session. While designed for a presidential veto, it is national health insurance -- through the front, not the back, door. Democrats view it as no-lose: either landmark health care will be enacted over President George W. Bush's veto, or, if overridden, they'll have a lovely 2008 campaign issue.

This outcome was previewed a week ago by Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer and Republican Whip Roy Blunt in a colloquy on the House floor. Blunt questioned the procedure under which radical expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) would be passed as a "bill that has not been debated." No matter, Hoyer replied. It will not really be a new bill because "there will be nothing, I think, in the bill that was not in the House or Senate bills" that were passed previously. Such is the sad state of congressional procedure today.

This business as usual on Capitol Hill is worth noting because SCHIP extension covers much more than the poor children originally intended to be helped. The new bill covers families with income up to $82,000 a year, threatening to crowd out the private health industry. Only Congress could conceive making families simultaneously eligible for SCHIP to help the poor and AMT (the alternative minimum tax) to punish the rich.”

SCHIP Charade
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY. 9/26/2007 (Excerpt)

“As Democrat Charles Rangel of New York noted, when lawmakers go back to their districts, "the question is, were you with the kids or were you not?" Some Republicans won't have an answer.

Too bad. The only hope now is that President Bush will follow through on his threat to veto it. Because 290 votes would be needed to override a veto, it looks like he might succeed.

In doing so, Bush will be vilified and excoriated for being against children. But let's look at this bill without blinders, shall we?

As passed by the House, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, will create a major new middle-class entitlement even as we face looming national bankruptcy from our $50.5 trillion (yes, you read that number right) in planned spending under Social Security and Medicare.

Today, some 6.6 million kids are covered under SCHIP, at a cost of about $25 billion over five years. The new bill raises that to 9 million kids covered, at a cost of $60 billion….”

“That's the problem — SCHIP's expansion sets up perverse incentives, such as encouraging those with private insurance to dump it in favor of subsidized care. This isn't just talk. According to health care economists David Cutler and Jonathan Gruber, for every 10 children enrolled in SCHIP, six drop their private insurance.

There are other problems. For instance, far from being "about the children," SCHIP already covers 670,000 adults. The new law will increase that. Thanks to loopholes, illegal aliens are eligible too

Add it all up, and SCHIP's costs will be much, much higher than the $60 billion forecast — just as happened with Medicare.”


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