Jay Reding.com

SCHIP Veto Override Fails

As expected, the House failed to override the President’s veto of the SCHIP legislation that would have extended government child health care benefits to families making over $80,000 per year. The bill would have eroded the health care market, raising premiums for everyone, while providing benefits to families that don’t need government-paid child health care. A family with an annual income of over $80,000 is not “poor” by any stretch of the means. The government has no business providing benefits to those who don’t have any need for them.

Politically, this move will probably hurt the GOP, but given that the election is a year out, the effects will be minimal. What the GOP needs to be doing on the political front is strongly pushing for a compromise bill that preserves the current SCHIP program while encouraging responsible solutions at a state level. That way, the Republicans can claim that they helped the poor without compromising the rest of America’s healthcare system.

The SCHIP expansion is part of an incremental strategy advancing this country towards the failed policies of universal government-run healthcare. The last thing this country needs is a bureaucratic system like the NHS in Britain or the Canadian healthcare system. The smaller populations of those countries have helped slow the inevitable collapse of those systems. If tried in the United States, such a system would collapse with even greater speed and lead to the same widespread rationing of care that already exists in the UK and Canada. Government price controls lead to shortages—the economic evidence is virtually irrefutable. Yet the Democrats in Congress, ever desirous of more and more power in the hands of the state, are perfectly willing to sacrifice the quality and accessibility of American healthcare to to achieve their political ends.

The SCHIP veto holds the line against this back-door attempt at socialized medicine, but in order to avoid political consequences, the Republicans need to be able to push out a better solution. There are viable policy proposals that keep the essential mission of SCHIP alive without expanding it into yet another runaway entitlement. The Republicans need to be able to spearhead these initiatives in order to demonstrate that they can get things done—unlike the party across the political aisle.

14 responses to “SCHIP Veto Override Fails”

  1. Mark says:

    As hard as it was for me to oppose the SCHIP expansion, the funding mechanism made it a nonstarter for me. Congress confirmed my worst fears related to how they plan to pay for virtually any new program, taking the path of least resistance and foisting a massive new tax burden on low-income smokers. Congressional leaders (from both parties) should hang their heads in shame over that, and will most likely keep the politically expedient yet morally bankrupt and financially idiotic cigarette tax as the default funding mechanism for whatever compromise they work out on SCHIP…and for any number of future spending programs for that matter. The fact that everybody from Harry Reid to Chuck Grassley believes that the nation’s financial future can be mortgaged on huge new cigarette taxes is a frightening indication of how devastatingly short-term our lawmakers worldview is….and an even scarier indication that the nation’s tax burden is poised to become more regressive than what exists in Grover Norquist’s wet dreams.

    Grateful as I am for the veto, I’m hopeful a compromise can be worked out with a sane funding mechanism. Republicans hanging with Bush basically gift-wrapped their own decapitated heads and put them under the Democratic Christmas tree. Had enough Republicans held their nose and overridden this veto, they could go on the offensive next fall running against Democrats who “raised taxes on working families by $35 billion”. Instead, they will be forced to defend refusing medical insurance for Graeme Frost (assuming Michelle Malkin doesn’t have him killed first) and other children. Choosing this fight was stupid and by next year at this time, every Republican in a close race will realize just how stupid it was. You played right into Democrats hands by holding up this veto.

    And unless your news consumption begins and ends with the right-wing blogosphere, you know the real story behind the “SCHIP will go to families making $80,000 per year” meme. New York requested that SCHIP benefits be extended to families making 400% the poverty rate (as opposed to the effort to increase the nationwide mandate to 300%) and the Bush administration denied it. Had the SCHIP expansion passed, nobody within $15,000 of the 80K threshold would have an option for SCHIP coverage. Anyone who repeats that falsehood three weeks after its initial debunking is either ignorant or a liar. Which are you Jay Reding?

  2. Guy R. Gregory says:

    A RECENT LETTER TO OUR SENATOR THUNE:

    Dear Senator Thune,
    It saddens me to say this: as an independent
    voter, I’ve been leaning Democratic lately. Why?
    Well, it’s because your party is failing to put our
    own constituents first! You can some how
    rationalize in your own head that it’s ok to
    continue to dump billions upon billions of our own
    taxpayer dollars in trying to manage a chaotic
    mess in Iraq, but, when it comes to funding vital
    programs for your own people, your response
    seems to be: “nope not going to do it!” I’m
    supporting both Tim Johnson and Stephanie
    Herseth-Sandlin this next election year because
    they get it. They get the fact that they were
    elected to represent the interests of their own
    constituents. I’ve written to you many times
    before, asking you to push for more aggresive
    investigations against this contractor fraud. I hope
    that you are not more invested in these wealthy
    and corrupt defense contractors than your own
    constituents in South Dakota. Senator Thune it
    has been past time for you to put your own people
    first. Please get on board and I might possibly
    support you again in 2010. I know there are
    Republicans from other states who do support
    funding vital programs for their citizens, including
    SCHIP. Rep. Denny Rehberg is one of them and
    he is from my original home state of Montana.

    Respectfully and sincerely,
    Guy R. Gregory
    Spearfish and Sioux Falls

  3. Tom says:

    It’s disappointing that you’re just repeating all the Republican lies about the SCHIP expansion as if you’re nothing but a puppet. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  4. Jay Reding says:

    It’s disappointing that you’re just repeating all the Republican lies about the SCHIP expansion as if you’re nothing but a puppet. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    And exactly where is the “lie?” The Democratic SCHIP proposal would have extended benefits to families making 400% of the poverty line. The House version of the bill was specifically designed to maximize the number of people using SCHIP — so much so that 70,000 people would be both eligible for SCHIP benefits (a program designed for the poor) and would be hit with the AMT (a program designed for the rich).

    The effect of SCHIP expansion would be to crowd people out from private insurance, reducing the insurance pool and raising premiums. It would have extended benefits to people making well above the poverty line who have no significant need for government healthcare.

    The whole purpose of this expansion was as an incremental step towards nationalizing the healthcare industry, as the HillaryCare plan in 1993 suggested. It wasn’t about poor kids, it was about playing politics. There are bills that would continue SCHIP coverage without expanding the program to those who don’t need. The Democrats will have to settle for helping those who need help rather than further trying to buy votes with government handouts.

  5. Eracus says:

    Under the Democrat proposed expansion of SCHIP, anyone with $1 million could have invested it all in U.S. treasuries, received $45,000 in annual income, paid no federal income tax, and still qualify for “free” health insurance. By canceling his private insurance and switching to SCHIP, our 50-year-old millionaire would then have saved himself roughly $7,500 a year in private insurance premiums without any interruption in coverage. This is precisely why President Bush vetoed the proposal.

    Once again the only liars here are the Democrat leadership and their synchophants in the mainstream media, whose only true intent was to generate still more liberal hysteria by publicly denouncing the president for denying healthcare to “children.” It is completely unfathomable how and why the usual suspects continue to believe this transparent drivel, especially given the utterly failed leadership of Reid and Pelosi, but alas, in the face of stupidity the gods always prevail in vain.

  6. Mark says:

    “The lie”, Jay, is that people making $80,000 per year will qualify for free health care under the SCHIP expansion. That’s “the lie”. Are you standing by the fraudulent statement that the vetoed expansion of SCHIP would have raised the income eligibility to more than $80K per year? Are you that much of a huckster?

    Eracus, if you really foresee this epidemic of millionaires sheltering their fortune in low-interest treasuries for the sole purpose of qualifying for free health care for their kids, why isn’t it happening already? The SCHIP program already exists, and could theoretically provide cover for incomes in the $35K per year range. Has it by any chance crossed your mind that millionaires forcing themselves to live on working-class salaries to earn free children’s health care isn’t an epidemic already because the idea would be insane?

  7. Eracus says:

    “Eracus, if you really foresee this epidemic of millionaires sheltering their fortune in low-interest treasuries for the sole purpose of qualifying for free health care for their kids, why isn’t it happening already?”

    Of course they already do, Mark. It is exactly what the Frost family chose to do and millions of others just like them. And who can blame them? Once again, it is laughably obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

    What you don’t seem to realize is that the Democrat proposal would have increased the disposable income of millionaires by allowing them to forego paying private health insurance premiums in favor of “free” Federal health coverage. Why would anyone pay thousands of dollars in private insurance premiums for exactly the same coverage available “free” from the Federal government?

    Why wouldn’t you just put that savings on insurance premiums into something like real estate, as Mr. Frost did? You preserve your capital, minimize your tax exposure, create the opportunity for asset appreciation, and meanwhile simply rely on the health insurance provided at taxpayer’s expense for your family. It’s not ethical, but it’s perfectly legal. THAT’S the problem.

    What the Democrats proposed was simply intended to extend this well-established scheme to a larger portion of the middle-class. NOT the middle-class as you would define it, Mark, but as the IRS defines it. What you seem not to comprehend is that it is possible to be a multi-millionaire and at the end of the year legally declare an AGI well within the lowest income bracket. That’s why there are tax lawyers and CPAs.

    Do you really not understand this? I assure you Mrs. Pelosi does very well, and it has nothing at all whatsoever to do with children.

  8. Jay Reding says:

    “The lie”, Jay, is that people making $80,000 per year will qualify for free health care under the SCHIP expansion. That’s “the lie”. Are you standing by the fraudulent statement that the vetoed expansion of SCHIP would have raised the income eligibility to more than $80K per year? Are you that much of a huckster?

    Except for the fact that it’s true. Under the SCHIP bill, H.R.976 (110th Cong.), § 114(a) states (like New York) that have created a waiver to allow families making more than 300% of the federal poverty line to receive benefits will have that waiver automatically applied upon passage of the bill. The amendment to 42 U.S.C. § 1397ee(c) reads:

    (B) EXCEPTION- Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any State that, on the date of enactment of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, has an approved State plan amendment or waiver to provide, or has enacted a State law to submit a State plan amendment to provide, expenditures described in such subparagraph under the State child health plan.’. (emphasis mine)

    That means that New York, having already applied to waive the level to 400% would get it approved without the need for further authorization. That means people making $82,000 a year in New York would get free children’s health care at taxpayer expense upon passage of the bill.

    The argument is correct, the bill would apply to those making $82,000 in at least one state (and I’m sure other states have similar requests for increases), and the President was right to veto the bill.

  9. Mark says:

    Jay, Bush refused Spitzer’s request to raise SCHIP eligibility to 400% of the poverty line….but you already knew that.

  10. Jay Reding says:

    Jay, Bush refused Spitzer’s request to raise SCHIP eligibility to 400% of the poverty line….but you already knew that.

    Which doesn’t matter, as the text of the bill would allow the increase regardless of the previous rejection. That’s what the language I quoted above is designed to do.

  11. Seth says:

    I’m sure other states have similar requests for increases

    New York was the only state with an increase. As a matter of fact.

    You really do just believe anything the far right will put in a talking point, don’t you?

    The polling I’ve seen on this says that 68% of Republican voters support this and would support a tax increase to pay for it.

  12. Eracus says:

    That’s just laughable, Seth. If it were possible to get 68% of Republicans to agree on anything, it certainly wouldn’t be higher taxes and free healthcare for millionaires.

  13. Seth says:

    Sorry, I misread the poll. It’s closer to 50% of Republicans would be willing to pay higher taxes for SCHIP (page 7).

    Oh, and by “millionaire” you must mean “families of four earning under $60,000 a year.” But thanks for showing up.

  14. Eracus says:

    Oh, that’s right, Seth. You believe everything you read. You find truth in polls, because, you know, they’re so accurate and reliable.

    Properly managed, $1 million can easily generate $60,000 a year in income alone. Strategically invested, it can double or triple that income in as little as 7 years while appreciating, conservatively, at 6% per year at the lower end of the spectrum for risk.

    That’s what smart people do with their money, Seth, instead of waiting around for someone else to give them something for nothing.