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.