Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bait and Switch on Children's Health Insurance Program Bill

President Bush vetoed the SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance program) recently passed by Congress. The veto will no doubt be accompanied by recriminations that the President doesn't care about children.

A closer look at the program points out what is really involved. Louisiana Congressman Jim McCrery, in a Washington Times editorial, discusses the bait and switch nature of the legislation with the ultimate goal being a government run health care system. Such a system would be a disaster for not only children but everybody else.

How does this bait and switch work? By setting up a system which encourages not just poor children but middle income families to get in the government health insurance program. It proposes spending $8.4 billion dollars in 2012 but then cutting government funding to $600 million in 2013. This means the government will be forced to dig deep to keep insuring all the people who have become dependent on the government for their health insurance.

Another interesting point is the 61 cent cigarette tax proposed to pay for it. The Heritage Foundation estimates there will need to be 22 million new smokers over the next ten years to keep the program funded via the cigarette tax. In other words, some of the same children getting the health insurance will have to start smoking to keep the program going.

The bottom line is expanding government involvement in health care will not solve our health care crisis. Government should be empowering people to meet their own health care needs rather than working to make more people dependent on government for their health care. Frankly, government’s distortion of health care system has led to out of control costs and which in turn means too many families unable to afford health care.

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