SCHIP Put’s Us On A Slippery Slope!

SCHIP, or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
This program began life, innocently enough, in 1997, with a Republican controlled Congress, and Democrat President. It comes under the statutory authority of Title XXI of the Social Security Act, and was intended to provide insurance coverage for children of parents that could not afford health insurance for their children, even if the parents made too much money to apply for Medicare benefits. Congress originally funded this program for ten years, with a forty billion dollar budget, and gave states much flexibility in administering the program. They didn’t hesitate to do just that.
As you are reading this, the Senate is working on a new bill, before the current program expires on September 30. Based on early reports from the Senate, and their new proposal for a thirty five billion dollar program for five years, it would raise the tax on cigarettes by sixty one cents a pack, and provide coverage for some adults, as well. An aspect of the legislation that drew this response:

The Senate legislation expands the State Children’s Health Insurance Program beyond the original intent of the program, White House Spokesman Tony Fratto said Saturday.

“It’s clear that it will have the effect of encouraging many to drop private coverage — purchased either through their employer or with their own resources — to go on the government-subsidized program,” Fratto said. “Tax increases are neither necessary nor advisable to appropriately fund SCHIP.”

Taken from an article, Bush Veto Foreseen On Child Health Bill.
I agree that this program should exist, as it isn’t very costly in it’s current form, but the current attempt to expand this program is part of a plan, an example of incrementalism, from the long defunct HillaryCare program of the early 90’s. The liberals in our government have never given up on taking control of the health care industry in this country, but they know a bold, broad power grab, as attempted by Hillary in 1993, is an unrealistic, and unattainable goal.
Kimberley Strassel, at Opinion Journal, had an excellent piece on this issue last month.
She stated:

Schip is the first step. The program, with its $25 billion budget, was originally designed to provide insurance to only the poorest children. Democrats want to throw an additional $60 billion at it, expanding Schip’s rolls by three million. They would expand eligibility so much that as many as half joining would drop private insurance to do so. Even adults could sign up.

Next: Even as Democrats work to expand Schip to cover older Americans, they’d expand Medicare to cover younger Americans. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell is said to have recently floated the idea of allowing the struggling Big Three auto makers to enroll workers in Medicare at the age of 55, or 10 years early. Consider this a pilot program for dropping Medicare’s age limit overall and instantly subjecting tens of millions more Baby Boomers to the government’s tender care.

Democrats will meanwhile argue the only way to pay for Schip and other expanded programs is to gut Medicare Advantage and similar free-market reforms. See how clever? Swallow up ever more Americans into federal programs, banish any last vestiges of popular market plans, and voilà! It is Hillarycare! Only nobody ever had to use the dreaded word!

She goes on to discuss Senator Robert Bennett’s(R-Utah) proposal, Healthy American Act(S.334), which can be found in it’s entirety here. In summarizing his proposed legislation:

It all starts with tax reform that empowers the individual. From that, we can get portability, individual access, incentives for healthy behavior, and market forces. The Healthy Americans Act embraces these principles; that health care coverage can be affordable, the uninsured can be covered, and, not insignificantly, our economy will be strengthened.

Should the current SCHIP remain as is, or return to it’s original form, I could accept that. To see this program expanded, to become Hillary’s Cudzu plant, it will be a fast descent down a slippery slope, with much pain when we hit bottom.
Socialized medicine is not the answer for this nation, and it appears that it isn’t the answer for many countries that already have it. Let us continue to place our trust in a free market system, and find more strategies, like Sen. Bennett’s, that embrace what this country stands for, and helps find a viable solution to the dilemmas our health care industry faces.

*Update* From Free Thoughts. Dead Meat!

*Update*House Triples SCHIP Funding!

Our friends the Brits

Here’s a short video for your open thread vewing.

Our friends the Saudis

CommonSenseAmerica points to an interesting article in the English version of Azzaman…

Hundreds of Saudis who sneaked into Iraq to carry out suicide bombing now languish in Iraqi jails, said Iraqi National Security Adviser Mufaq al-Rubaai.

He said 160 of them have already been sentenced and the rest are awaiting trial.

He did not specify the type of punishment, but Iraqi courts usually pass death sentences with regard to cases involving violence and resistance of U.S. and Iraqi troops.

Saudi Arabia is constructing a massive fence along its borders with Iraq to prevent its national crossing into the country.

Rabaai said many more Saudis who were used as “suicide bombers” have died in Iraq.

As you recall, fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 alqaeda suicide bombers  were Saudis.  Probably jut a coinkydink.

Global war on terror deniers plan publicity stunt

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to keep the Senate awake all night Tuesday to protest GOP blocking tactics on moves to compel U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq.Senate Republican leaders, alerted to Reid’s plans on Monday, said they have the votes to keep the president’s surge policy in place, at least for now, and called Reid’s up-all-night gambit a stunt that wouldn’t change any minds.

Senior Democratic leadershp aides said that Reid was planning a Tuesday all-nighter — complete with roll-away beds — to draw public attention to GOP demands that any changes to Iraq policy carry a 60-vote majority.

“Is this a publicity stunt? Yes,” a senior Democratic aide told FOX News. “This is the only way we know to highlight their complete ignorance of the will of the people!”

source

Well, the latest Rasmussen polls showed Congress with an approval rating about 12 points lower than President Bush’s, and over half of those surveyed showing a desire to wait until September before deciding on a change of course in the Iraq war.

Complete ignorance, indeed

World’s largest nuclear plant leaks radioactive water

Update from AP–fresh concerns about the earthquake-resistance of Japanese nuclear facilities, “exposes the Achilles Heel.

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant — the world’s largest — leaked water containing radioactive materials from a reactor after a strong quake struck northwest Japan on Monday, a company spokesman said.

No further details on damage to people or the environment were immediately available.

Cable news is reporting that the leak is below allowable safety standards at present time.

Developing…

UPDATE: from the Beeb  

A strong earthquake in central Japan has damaged a large nuclear power plant causing a leak of radioactive material, officials at the plant have said.

A small amount of water containing radioactive substances leaked into the sea, officials said, and a fire broke out at the plant in Kashiwazaki. …

 

Several hours later a second earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck in the sea off Kyoto in western Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said the small amount of radioactive material that leaked into the sea posed no environmental risk.
Reactors at the plant automatically shut during the magnitude 6.8 quake.

Tags: Japan | containing | Emergencies | Kashiwazaki-Kariwa | largest | Leaks | MATERIALS | Monday | northwest | Nuclear | Quake | RADIOACTIVE | REACTOR | seen | Smoke | spewing | spokesman | struck | tokyo | transformer

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