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Thursday, September 27, 2007
The SCHIP hits the fan

The State Children's Health Insurance Program funding bill made its way through Congress this week. It is pretty much what it sounds like, and it's one of the more successful programs initiated in the last decade. So given that fact, and also that wages are stagnant while medical costs skyrocket, some people thought it might be a good idea to expand the program to another 10 million kids. I know, it's crazy.

Guess who is going to veto the legislation, cutting off funding to even the current beneficiaries of such largesse, a.k.a. poor kids?

That's right, the compassionate conservative himself, President George W. Bush.

How can he do such a thing? It's easy, because he says the program "is an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care for every American."

Now, who you are is defined by which part of that sentence you gravitate toward.

If you are a conservative, you see "government-run health care."

If you are a liberal, you see "health care for every American."

At this moment, I have medical insurance through my job, so I'm luckier than a lot of people who have no job, or have jobs (plural) which do not offer insurance. I pay a great deal for it, and in comparison to other insurance I have had, it's not really all that great. I have only the brochure's word for it that I will be treated if I actually get sick, but I have seen enough bastardry from that industry to be skeptical.

If the quality of the furniture in my doctor's office declines slightly because he is being reimbursed by a government agency instead of a for-profit insurance conglomerate, I will not just live with that, I suspect I will flourish. And so will all of the other Americans who can get medical care.

This is not bleeding-heart do-goodery. I am a misanthrope, and think the world is ridiculously overpopulated. That being said, I'm pretty sure it'd be more economically feasible to let people see a doctor when they have the flu rather than hospitalizing them when they have pneumonia. It's a cost/benefit analysis, and prevention is always cheaper than treatment. You want to see your taxes spent more judiciously? Make damn sure that children get their vaccinations, and then when your dumb ass breaks your leg skiing, you won't have to wait fifteen hours in the godforsaken emergency room, because people with preventable conditions and no insurance now require immediate treatment. WHILE YOU WAIT.

If state-run insurance is so awful, why do people in the countries that have these programs outlive us, and generally also pay less for their medical costs, including taxes? Please feel free to quote me statistics, I live for that shit.

Please don't quote me any statistics.

I am not a Christian, and I don't believe in god. I don't think that I am amoral. Morality exists, whether god does or not. And the golden rule still covers most things as far as I'm concerned. If you are someone who believes the teachings of Jesus, how does that jibe with your modern "Greed is Good" conservatism? I'm not saying you need to wear sandals and sleep in a tent, but maybe what helps others with less is ultimately good for all of us?

In 2007, it is abundantly clear that the free market has failed to produce satisfactory results in two areas: Health care, and fighting wars. 180,000 "contractors" in Iraq (Contractors! Like they're repairing the roof!) in addition to 165,000 US troops, and we are no closer to a self-sustaining Iraq that we were three years ago, or will be in another three. You can't fight this war with mercenaries, no matter how well paid, and you can't keep 300 million people healthy when profit is mandatory, and stockholders get bigger dividends when people with cancer are denied treatment.

There are some things that are so damned big that the government needs to do them. Sorry, but that should be obvious by now. If you have a free-market solution, please explain it to me, and spare me you tax credits for medical expenses. I'm not sure how those help people that can't pay for treatment in the first place. I know, I know, they should all let their accountants handle this stuff.

So go ahead, George, you silver-spoon never-worked-a-day-in-your-life elite, veto the bill. Dump it. Tell the people with kids that they're better off without insurance in a free market than they would be with insurance provided by the government. You push that argument right through election day next year. You will hand the Democrats a veto-proof majority, and the White House for good measure. If you think SCHIP will cost a lot, wait til you see what these moron Democrats come up with when there is no longer an effective opposition.

Veto it. Keep vetoing it. And enjoy the Rovian Permanent Minority you will usher into American politics for your party.

Veto it.

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posted at 11:37 PM

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