Let’s dive in, shall we? Starting with Nathan Tabor’s title…
Massive expansion of SCHIP: A move toward socialism
Ooooh. "Socialism". That scare word the right hasn’t let go of since McCarthy. Bugga-bugga-bugga! I venture to guess that most self-proclaimed rank-and-file conservatives don’t even know what "socialism" even is. But they know it’s baaaad, because they keep hearing about it in a bad context.
In this particular case — SCHIP — "socialism" means a government program which helps make sure that America’s children are insured so they can get proper medical treatment, preventitive medicine (innoculations) and the like. Kind of like Medicare (another "socialist" program).
I recently heard about a young mother who received an unexpected call from a collection agency for a bill for a medical test that was performed on her infant son two years ago. Certainly, it’s a hassle for this busy working mother to go through her records to try to prove that she never received the original bill. But I’m betting this mother is thankful that she lives in a country where she can still choose her children’s doctor…where her children can receive prompt medical care…and where she can rest easy at night knowing that competent care from her pediatrician, ob/gyn, and family doctor is only a phone call away.
Translation: Let me start off with a fictional illustration that I’ll pretend I "heard about", and take some fanciful guesses as to what my fictionious character is thinking about and grateful for.
The issue of children’s medical care is now centerstage in our national political debate, due to the controversy over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP. President Bush has pledged to veto a compromise bill that would expand the program, calling the plan a move toward "government-run health care for every American."
And veto it Bush did, this morning.
The draft compromise legislation would mean some 35 billion additional dollars would be pumped into the program over five years. As a result, total spending on SCHIP would be a whopping $60 billion.
Which comes out to about 30 weeks of the Iraq War. Let me put it this way — if we stopped the Iraq War in September, we would be able to "pay" for SCHIP by mid-February 2008.
As you might expect, the growth in spending would be paid for through a tax increase — in this case, an increase in the tobacco tax.
So, in other words, unless you are a smoker, this isn’t going to cost you (the taxpayer) anything.
The President further stated, "I believe this is a step toward federalization of health care," noting that the Congressional plan "is beyond the scope of the program, and that’s why I’m going to veto the bill."
Federalization of health care? Have these people ever heard of Medicare or Medicaid?
Keep in mind President Bush is what’s known as a compassionate conservative. In other words, he’s not against government programs.
As opposed to dispassionate conservatives like Nathan who think government programs to help sick children are baloney.
In fact, he’s not even against expanding SCHIP — he himself is asking for $5 billion more for the program. He’s made it clear that he wants poor children to have health insurance —
— just not all of those poor children?
— he just doesn’t want to bankrupt families while doing it.
Well, seeing as how the money for the expansive SCHIP is coming from tobacco taxes, how exactly will this "bankrupt families"? Are there entire families of smokers out there who spend virtually all their income on cigarettes?
The Democrats approved this pork barrel plan knowing that the President would veto it.
I don’t think Nathan knows what "pork barrel" means. I think it’s one of those "buzz phrases" (like "socialism") that is intended to scare people. In any event, a national program to help insure all children is hardly a "pork barrel" endeavor.
And by the way, the bill is a "compromise" bill. Not a Democratic bill. In fact, senior Republicans such as Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and a fiscal conservative, and Orrin Hatch of Utah helped draft the bill.
As the President has stated, "Members of Congress are putting health coverage for poor children at risk so they score political points in Washington."
Wow. Let’s try to get our head around that little bit of up-is-down-ism. By trying to spend $60 billion dollars to ensure health coverage for poor children, Congress is putting health coverage for poor children at risk. Whereas Bush, who doesn’t want to spend even one-tenth of that amount, is being a "compassionate conservative." Got that?
I understand that every politician uses rhetoric, but seriously — how can Bush get away with absolutely bone-headed statements like that, and nobody challenge him?
As evidence of that, consider this statement, issued by the Democratic caucus in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives:
"President Bush is about to punish thousands of Pennsylvania children whose ‘crime’ is that their working parents cannot afford expensive private health insurance. He is threatening to veto legislation that would reauthorize and improve federal support for state children’s health insurance programs because, he says, it’s too expensive.
"Yes, President Bush, caring for kids costs money. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t invest in them. The low- and middle-income working parents who are struggling to meet their kids’ basic necessities are what Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program is all about."
I don’t quite get Nathan’s point. The statement is "evidence" of — what exactly? That Congress is trying to score "political points"? You mean, because they issued a political statement about why they are right?
What low- and middle-income working parents really need is for our public officials in Washington to hold the reins on runaway government spending. They need their tax bills reduced so that they can stretch their hard-earned dollars to pay for necessities — including health care for their children.
But Nathan, my boy. Low and middle income working families aren’t footing the bill for this through "tax bills". Smokers are through taxes on cigarette products. You just said so. And although it is true that there are smokers from low and middle income families, they also exist in high income brackets, too.
The last thing they need is for Uncle Sam to determine the course of their children’s health care.
Ah. It’s about choice now. Suddenly, when it comes to the health of young human beings, Nathan’s gotten all pro-choice. My, how the worm turns.
Yet, that’s exactly what the Democratic leaders in Congress are pushing for. Call it what you will — I call it universal health care — another name for old-fashioned socialism.
Cue orchestra: BA-BA-BUUUUUUUUM.
All we need know is grainy black-and-white footage of Jack Webb standing in front of a line of poor children getting innoculated.
I have a question: Bush wants to fund $5 billion for SCHIP, and Congress wants to fund $60 billion. According to Nathan, Congress’s plan is a "move towards socialism". So why isn’t Bush’s limited spending also a "move toward socialism", albeit a smaller one?
UPDATE: A video response to the Bush veto…