Wednesday, October 03, 2007

State Children's Health Insurance Program extended

Okay, so I have to admit that I thought the president was being his dimwitted, class-warfare self again when I heard he vetoed the SCHIP bill. This president strikes me as less a race-divided twit than a class-divided twot.

Let me explain. Bush only cares about people in his circle: You know, fuckups and failures with money. His derision for people of color comes not from their skin tone but from there lack of financial heft.

So I have probably over-reacted to Bush's veto. Then I stumbled upon Greg Mankiw's blog. Greg is a former Bush admin employee, famous for having said that outsourcing was good and getting creamed for saying it. Mankiw is no longer employed by BushCo, but he obviously still has connections. Here is an excerpt from an email sent to him from the "inside."
Here's where we disagree.

3. We think the "C" in SCHIP stands for "children". Over the past several years, adults have been added to SCHIP. Some were parents of kids with health insurance, others were adults without children. We were responsible for some of those additions, as we approved State waiver requests. We made a policy shift this year, based in part on further input from the Congress, and we're now returning SCHIP to its original purpose. Over the next few years, our policy will return SCHIP to a kids-only program. States that are now covering adults will have to move them onto Medicaid or a State program. While the advocates for HR 976 argue they share this goal, the bill doesn't match the rhetoric - it lets adults in some states back into SCHIP. And in six States (IL, NJ, MI, RI, NM, and MN), more than half of their projected SCHIP expenditures this year are for adults. We think this is the wrong direction for a program that should be about children.

4. We think SCHIP should be about helping poor kids.
I really couldn't agree more with this assessment. I may have mentioned on this blog before that everyone should have health insurance and I might have implied -- hell, I might have even explicitly said it -- that the government should ensure that all Americans be covered by some national health care system. But over the course of the past few years, with the reading I've done coupled with personal experience, I'm coming around to a more libertarian view. That is to say, I don't necessarily agree that the government should play any part in a national health care system. The advent of insurance was brought on by the need for large numbers of folks to share risk. The obvious example: Tornadoes and other "acts of God." Many people contributed to the reserves needed by the insurance companies to cover just a relative few catastrophic events. While hundreds if not thousands of people were affected by a tornado ripping through Oklahoma, only a few lost their homes.

Now, people rebuild in Florida after having survived dozens of hurricanes. Insurance companies simply should refuse to insure them.

Anyway, what I should have said in the past is that this country has no reason for a significant number of people to be without health care. This is considerably different than saying that the government ought to design some sort of new bureaucracy that only serves to put us further into debt than we already are.

Bottom line: America is too rich a country to have this problem. We should all be covered by some health care policy or plan. Private enterprise might be able to resolve this. Talk to you later.

Greg Mankiw's Blog: POTUS on SCHIP