Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Guest Blog Post by OneSouthernBelle

[It is my fault that the links I coded to her two well written articles below, in the post entitled "Two Strong, Thought Provoking Articles" were bad. They have been corrected, so if you like what you read here, scroll further down to that post, click the links to the Heritage Foundation, and read more! But for now, I take pride in introducing Scarlett, OneSouthernBelle. --the LMC]

You’ve got to hand it to the Democrats—they sure know a good thing when they see it. Just when you think they’ve ridden this SCHIP horse about as far as it will go, they somehow manage to eke out one more mile. But how long can we expect such posturing and grandstanding to continue? Well friends, it seems that is the $35 billion question.

When the SCHIP bill came before both houses of Congress in September, the Senate (doing its best impersonation of France) managed to fold like a lawn chair. But over in the House, trouble was a’brewin’. The House passed the bill on a vote of 265-159—a margin large enough to sustain the promised Presidential veto, and thus the drama continued.

The House is scheduled to vote the measure again on Thursday and if all members are in attendance, the Dems will need to increase their numbers by about 25 votes in order to get the 290 needed to prevail and subsequently override the veto. Though about six Dems, who originally stood opposed, are expected to jump ship and vote the party line instead, as of this writing not a single Republican had announced plans to switch. A member of the House Minority Leadership, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia declared, "We will not see an erosion of our votes."

Former U.S. Congressman Ernest Istook (R-OK) recently published a piece in National Review Online in which he made some excellent points worthy of much consideration, namely:

The bill creates perverse incentives for families to drop private coverage and go on welfare health care. Citing Istook, “Whether Washington will reshape a program designed as a safety net for poor children and turn it into one that covers most kids in America (and next moves on to cover all kids, then their parents and, ultimately, everyone else). The bill Bush vetoed would expand government-paid health care to kids in families who make more than $62,000 a year. Most in that group already have private insurance. But that will surely be cancelled if Congress offers them ‘free’ government coverage to replace it.”

The left and those who support big government have a high and enduring degree of self-interest in promoting SCHIP and other measures aimed at federalizing the health care system. Istook points out, “Americans United for Change (AUC), MoveOn.org, and the Service Employees International Union (which claims over one million hospital workers as members) are spending millions on the effort. Also coordinating and mobilizing people are groups such as the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, the AARP, and the American Medical Association. Sadly, rather than supporting ways to make medical bills more affordable, many in health care are pushing to have government pay those bills. When costs are too high, what do we fix by having government pick up the tab?”

Rather than approaching the SCHIP debate as an ideological or philosophical difference in opinion essentially regarding who should own and operate health care, the left chooses to characterize Conservatives much like the cannibalistic Witch Hazel of Bugs Bunny fame, just waiting to cook poor, unsuspecting children into a pot of stew. Again from Istook, “Propaganda is an integral part of warfare, and this group is making it their main weapon. Families USA, for example, presents the issue using cartoonish rhetoric in website headlines such as ‘Bush vs. Kids’ and ‘President Bush to Children: ‘No Health Care for You.’ The rally organizers are pulling out all the stops, too. As one e-mailed rally invitation noted, ‘If you have kids, definitely bring them, too!’ Their side is shameless in its exploitation of children. Perhaps the topper was the use of a 12-year-old to give the official ‘Democratic response’ to President Bush’s weekly national radio address.”

Finally, while all sides agree SCHIP should be expanded, questions regarding how, to whom, and how much are at the heart of this debate. Istook correctly states, “A compliant media…too often mischaracterizes the fight as one over the very existence of SCHIP, as though Bush vetoed the program because he wants to kill it. In fact, he signed an extension to keep it alive and he says he’ll support giving it a few billion more if it simply stays focused on serving poor kids, rather than becoming a new middle-class entitlement.”

Alas, Democratic leadership flatly (and repeatedly) refuse to compromise with Republicans and the Bush Administration. Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Bush’s offer of increased funding in exchange for changes in some of the bill’s more onerous provisions “an insult.” (An insult? Really, Harry?)

As you ponder the future of SCHIP I invite you to consider the following:

SCHIP was originally intended for children whose families made too much to qualify for Medicaid but who were, nevertheless, legitimately unable to afford coverage—families of four making between 100% an 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) or about $21,000 and $42,000 a year. (Note: The median household income in the United States was about $48,000 in 2006, thus the intended target for SCHIP funds were lower-middle class American children.)

Unrestrained, some states decided to extend coverage to families making up to $62,000 per year.

The Bush Administration recently refused New York’s request to extend SCHIP coverage to families making up to $82,600 annually. Had the request been approved—as it surely would have been (and may be in the future) with a Dem in the White House—those families could have conceivably been poor enough to qualify for welfare health care and simultaneously wealthy enough to be subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT)—another ugly legacy of a Democrat-controlled Congress. (Only in Washington, folks. I am NOT making this up.)

If requests similar to that made by New York were granted in every state (and again, this only takes a party change in the White House) it is estimated that 71% of all American children would be eligible for federal government welfare healthcare.

Currently, several states cover more adults than children using SCHIP funds, including Wisconsin where SCHIP adults outnumber SCHIP kids two-to-one, thus leaving some poor children uninsured.

Now who’s insulted?

For original Istook article in National Review Online, go to:
Istook article


For cool graphic of Bugs Bunny’s Witch Hazel, go to:
Hazel

For photo and brief bio of Ernest Istook, go to:
Istook Bio.

5 comments:

Redstater said...

It's too bad Oklahoman's weren't smart enough to elect Istook... instead we got a Governor who thinks we can win the war with "Pinwheels" and that we can afford free healthcare... not just for all Americans... but for the entire country of Mexico as well.

Socialism has arrived folks.
-red

The Localmalcontent said...

I was going to write an informative post on how to straighten out a bent bicycle wheel, but Belle hit this one outta the park! I think we have an informed voice in the heartland here...

Redstater said...

no doubt, good call.
Bent wheel huh...
yeah, I know what you mean, my car has a loose nut behind the wheel.
-red

onesouthernbelle said...

Thanks, fellas. Yes, Istook is impressive-and smart to beat the band. He has a gift for reading the political tea leaves AND he's never afraid to tell it like it is. So grateful for Istook and his fellow Oklahoman, Sen. Tom Coburn, and the clarity and truth they bring on this issue. See a clip from Coburn's Senate Floor speech on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjpcJg5nWvg. He's awesome!

Today's the big SCHIP vote! I've been follwing the DC chatter pretty closely and I feel confident we can count on our good, conservative friends in the House to toe the line on this. Few people realize just how much hangs in the balance with this piece of legislation. If passed in its current form, it's a major leap into full-fledged socialism. Shame on the left.

FYI-Bob Moffit at The Heritage Foundation wrote another great piece for National Review Online, just published today. See it at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZDVhNjRmZWYyOWVkZGE5NDRjMDk2ZTNiZGEyZmJkMmI= . Bob's another straight shooter--and a bulldog when it comes to fighting the creep of socialism. I'm not sure he knows anything about bent bicycle wheels, but after 30+ years in DC, I am confident he knows a few things about loose nuts.

One Southern Belle said...

I vigorously urge everyone to read Mark Steyn's piece "General Stark's War" from the NY Sun yesterday. (http://www.nysun.com/article/65002 ) In it Steyn addresses Rep. Pete Stark's (D-CA) House floor speech last week in which he lobbed nonsensical, biting, personal attacks at Pres. Bush in an attempt to garner votes to override the SCHIP veto. (Really, can somebody PLEASE put a fork in this thing? It's DONE already!)

For those of you who don't have time to read the article in its entirety, I have taken the liberty of cutting and pasting two of the most relevant parts. Enjoy!

"Congressman Stark hit all the buzz words – "children", "illegal war", "$200 billion", "lies", etc – and these days they're pretty much like modular furniture: you can say 'em in any order and you'll still get a cheer from the crowd."

"A couple of weeks ago, the Democrats put up a 12-year old S-CHIP beneficiary from Baltimore called Graeme Frost to deliver their official response to the President's Saturday-morning radio address. And immediately afterwards Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and I jumped the sick kid in a dark alley and beat him to a pulp. Or so you'd have thought from the press coverage: The Washington Post called us "meanies". Well, no doubt it's true we hard-hearted conservatives can't muster the civilized level of discourse of Pete Stark. But we were trying to make a point – not about the kid, but about the family, and their relevance as a poster child for expanded government healthcare. Mr and Mrs Frost say their income's about $45,000 a year – she works "part-time" as a medical receptionist and he works "intermittently" as a self-employed woodworker. They have a 3,000 square foot home plus a second commercial property with a combined value of over $400,000, and three vehicles – a new Suburban, a Volvo SUV, and a Ford F250 pick-up....How they make that arithmetic add up is between them and their accountant. But here's the point: The Frosts are not emblematic of the health care needs of America so much as they are of the delusion of the broader western world. They expect to be able to work "part-time" and "intermittently" but own two properties and three premium vehicles and have the state pick up healthcare costs."