by John Hawkins | October 4, 2007 1:30 am
It’s the perfect combination of sin taxes, nanny-statism and taxpayer-funded welfare — all in the name of the children.
…The story now is Bush’s October 3 veto of a massive expansion of the government-run State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The media couldn’t resist scripting the veto as a vote against children. What’s at stake, though, included a proposed $35-billion expansion of taxpayer-funded insurance made possible by a tax increase.
…The bill would have added $7 billion per year to the $5-billion program — a 140-percent increase.
…”Naturally, however, there’s a budget sleight-of-hand,” The Wall Street Journal explained September 28. “Known as a ‘funding cliff,’ the yearly Schip layout increases to $13.9 billion in 2011, then abruptly cuts spending by 65% below current funding levels. This helps ‘score’ the bill as costing only $35 billion over the five-year budget window, but it also means that come 2012 Congress will either have to pass new spending or kick kids off the rolls.”
In the midst of all the concerned parents and cute kids pulling wagons of petitions, the media missed out on that crucial problem.
…Bush wanted to expand SCHIP by about $5 billion over the next five years (a 20-percent funding increase) as opposed to the bill passed by the Senate and House, which would have added $35 billion over the same period (a 140-percent increase).
…”The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] reports, for example, that 77 percent of children between 200 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level already have private health insurance.”
The original intent of SCHIP was to provide health insurance for poor children. The congressional expansion, however, would help cover children in families with incomes of more than $60,000 in some cases, even up to $83,000 in extreme cases. To put that in perspective, the median household income is a little more than $48,201.
…”The tobacco tax is a great way to pay for it,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said, “because if you tax people who are smoking and they smoke less, then we have less health problems.”
There’s a big problem with that logic: fewer smokers means less tax revenue. And less tax revenue means not enough funding for the SCHIP expansion. To keep up the proposed amount of the health insurance expansion, the government would need more people to smoke — not fewer.
“In just five years, Congress will need over 9 million new smokers,” estimated The Heritage Foundation’s Michelle Bucci and William Beach.
In other words, the Democrats are wildly understating the costs of the SCHIP program, funding it with an unsustainable source of revenue (a tobacco tax), and expanding the program to cover the people who aren’t poor.
Moreover, the cost and people covered by programs like these are almost always dramatically expanded beyond all anticipated limits. So, if this expansion passes, expect the program to cost 15-25 billion dollars a year by 2012 — and expect that money to come directly out of your pocket because there is no way they’ll be able to cover that kind of money with tobacco taxes.
So ask yourself…
* Do we really need another massive new government spending program?
* Do we really want the country to go deeper into debt every year to fund the SCHIP expansion?
* Do you really want money taken out of your pocket to pay for the health insurance of children in families making $83,000 a year? Why in the world can’t people making that kind of money pay for their own health care?
This is nothing but Hillarycare light and George Bush made the right decision when he vetoed the bill.
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