Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bad Sam, Good Sam, and Kids Hurt by Fear and Dogma

As written here back in July, SCHIP represents an instance where the Bush administration is going out of its way to harm children because of its dogmatic need to prevent government from offering solutions to people.

Now that he is actually wielding his pen as a sword to cut off access to health care for children, the right wing has been forced to try to reframe the debate into terms that are somehow less heartless. Sam Graves attempts to explain his blind support of all things Bush in this morning's paper, with a truly despicable attempt to blame his support of harming children on his (bogus) fear that some of the children helped might be "illegal immigrants". Mr. Graves, when your hysteria about brown people reaches the point that you cannot stomach the thought of their sick children getting necessary medical care, you've gone around the bend.

It takes a sick mind to deny millions of children health care because you don't want the brown ones to get it.

A less disturbing but more humorous argument being trotted out has the benefit of actually being Bush's true motivation. The REAL reason we can't allow SCHIP to work is that it works. If we help the children with a state-sponsored health care, people will see that "socialized medicine" is actually a sensible and workable approach.

Let's go back to Graves:
according to the Congressional Budget Office, the expansion of this government-run health-care initiative would likely mean that 2 million kids who already have private insurance would opt for their states’ government-run health-care program. In Missouri, that would involve a waiting period. That isn’t fixing a problem, it’s increasing government.
WHAT?!?! For years we've been told that single-payer health care is the worst thing in the world, but here's Sam Graves telling us that if we allow people who live in the shangri-la of medical insurance to cross over into the pit of despair that is government-sponsored health care, they will actually make that choice? It would appear that the medical establishment and their Republican hired hands have been lying to us all these years. Shocking!

(Hint to right-wing commenters about to poke a hole in my argument by pointing out that the state-sponsored health care is cheaper - here's a friendly caution to be careful with that argument - it could be a rhetorical trap . . .)


In the face of Sam Graves' embarrassingly weak defense of denying kids health care, it's good to know that Missourians have Sam Page, a genuine doctor with a thorough understanding of the health care system. Not surprisingly, he disagrees with Sam Graves, and sent me a press release that calls him on his heartlessness:
"It is shameful that our state's leaders are willing to sit silently while politicians in Washington deny access to health insurance for Missouri children," said Representative Sam Page.

Sam Page, physician and a Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, is urging Missouri's U.S. Representatives who voted against the SCHIP expansion to change their votes in order to override the president's veto, but warns the state should not be reliant on national policy.

In Missouri, our citizens and especially our children are already losing healthcare coverage at a rate three times the national average. The SCHIP expansion that received strong bi-partisan support in congress would bring nearly $1 billion in new healthcare funding to Missouri.

"We cannot continue to allow our children to suffer from illnesses that could be prevented if families had affordable access to doctors," said Page. "In the Missouri House I fought against the Medicaid cuts in 2005 and I have worked on Healthcare Committees to restore those cuts. As your Lt. Governor, I would not sit silently while politicians destroyed a child's opportunity to lead a healthy life."
Sam Page supports allowing children the opportunity to lead a healthy life. Sam Graves does not. No amount of spin, no amount of brown people fear-mongering can explain away the contrast.

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23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

I am not a Republican, but (as you pointed out) the obvious response to why 2M children would leave private insurance for SCHIP is that it is cheaper. Two things: (1) Is it true that 2M children would switch; what is this assumption based on? (2) What is the counter to the "cheaper" argument?

10/04/2007 7:27 AM  
Blogger les said...

Anon, nobody knows how many, if any, children might be switched from private insurance; the repubs need a distraction from the fact that what would absolutely happen is that many kids without insurance would get it. But it's more important to Bush and the bushbots that a) it's possible some insurance company might lose some premiums and b) some people might discover that having the government deliver needed services well doesn't cause the immediate triumph of the smelly Socialist International, the dfh's or the brown hordes. Bush is flat lying when he says that the bill expands the pool of eligible kids--it just provides funds so some eligible kids who aren't currently included because of money shortages will be able to sign up.

10/04/2007 9:55 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

Speaking of showing leadership, shouldn't Kay and/or her surrogates be all over this? (I assume Page isn't a Kay surrogate... could be wrong.) As in, right now, not just looking forward to using it against Graves later? Raising a stink now will give later criticism more currency.

The headline for the SCHIP story on the local Fox news was "children's health," for pete's sake. Bush's veto and Graves intransigence are easily called out as the miserable acts that they are.

10/04/2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger thepaintman said...

SCHIP - What They Aren't Telling You
Before pulling out your box of tissues and weeping for the "millions of low income kids" this "heartless veto" has denied from insurance, I think it is important to look into what Democrats, and the media are not telling you about this bill. For starters it is important to note that President Bush did not veto the SCHIP program, what he vetoed was the enormous expansion of it. President Bush had asked for a small expansion of this program from Congress, requesting an additional $5 billion over the next 5 years. The House's first draft of this bill authorized an additional $50 billion and covered "children" as old as 25 from families which made as much as $82,000 per year. Those numbers have since been toned down, however the final bill which was presented to President Bush requested an increase of $35 billion and would cover "children" as old as 21.

10/04/2007 11:50 AM  
Anonymous p said...

Kay is all over this.

Also why is governement run healthcare bad for us, but it's great for the military and veterans? In the miliatry and at the VA, all the services are free and all the providers are government employees. Sounds like socialized medicine to me.

10/04/2007 12:04 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

This is definitely one more reason why folks ought to start getting on board the Kay Barnes bandwagon. I know a lot of so-called liberals in this town have a beef with her for a variety of reasons, but face it, she'll be a vast improvement over Graves.

P is absolutely right that she has been all over this issue, and she deserves some kudos for that as well as the strong campaign she's running so far.

10/04/2007 12:30 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

We get it paintman. Bush vetoed fully funding an existing program that effectively provides health care access to kids. Some of us think that's a bad thing.

10/04/2007 1:27 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

a little late on commenting but missed this one. Did you know almost 90 percent of the Schip recipients in Minnesota are adults?

Splain that to me and boo hoo about the little children.

Sorry, not buying this crying jag.

10/04/2007 8:01 PM  
Blogger les said...

nice try, trav. Definitions, sources? What's next, welfare queens in Cadillacs?

10/05/2007 9:10 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Ok Mr. Les Smart Man:
http://www.hhs.gov/news/facts/schip2.html
Schip funds used for adults in the following states:
Wisconson 75%
Minn 61%
Ill 60%
RI 57%
NJ 43%

13% of all Schip funds will go to adults other than expectant mothers and 30% of these adults are not even parents

Is the US Dept HHS a good enough source for you?

10/05/2007 10:23 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

By the way, the 90% adult Schip recipients in Minn figure was a quote from an article by Robert Novack. I don't know where he got his figure, perhaps from an earlier year. I find several references to his article and the percentage (actually 92%), but none contained a reference to his source.

10/05/2007 12:29 PM  
Blogger les said...

Nice work indeed, Trav--you may, but I seldom count on the Bush admin for unbiased information; Novakula, when he can't find a misleading statistic, makes 'em up. Not surprisingly, they don't define adult; if states are improperly using SCHIP funds, why isn't HHS doing anything about it? 5 states listed; if the total "adult" coverage is 13%, the balance of the states must be near perfect. The site did let this slip--"A recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that SCHIP has reduced the uninsured in the target population by only 25 percent." Hence, Congress sensibly wants to extend the funding--not the program, the funding.

More evidence of cherry-picking--"Of the 14 states that were projected to exceed their federal SCHIP allotments in 2007, five cover children not considered low-income, and five cover adults other than expectant mothers." What's that mean--all of your horror stories come from states who choose to extend the program--that's either states choosing how they spend their money, allowed by the program--Federalism, man!--or states violating program guides--where's oversight? Oh, Yeah, Bush doesn't do that.

I'll cut off your next scare quote--"Some members of Congress have proposed extending SCHIP to four times the poverty level nationwide"--of course, that's not the bill Bush vetoed.

I'll tell you the Bush problem with SCHIP--it works, the states like it, it's reaching the intended target; and how can the "compassionate conservatives" drown the Fed gov in a bathtub, if people figure out good programs work? "Course there'll always be people like you and the Bush apparatchiks to try to distort the reality, but people may be waking up to the bullshit.

10/09/2007 10:13 AM  
Blogger les said...

'm sure it's too late, but I'm so sick of the bullshit--Trav, are you joining Malkin's attack on the 12 year old who was evil enough to make an ad supporting SCHIP--that I thought I'd let you hear from one of those evil adult insurers:

"[New Jersey Governor] Corzine also responded to Bush’s criticism that states such as New Jersey spend “more SCHIP money on adults than they do on children.” “We cover parents up to 133 percent of poverty,” he said. “That’s $27,000 for a family of four. In New Jersey, that is poverty. … Yes, the cost of insurance for adults is more than for young folks, for kids, but that is not going to middle class or even moderate income families. Very low income.”

Douchebag. And I don't mean Corzine.

10/09/2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Travelingal may be wrong on this issue, and she may have fallen victim to some Republican talking points, but she's a reasonable person who I respect even when I disagree with her. She's not the sort to harass a 12 year-old, so if your name-calling was intended to refer to her, I'd gently suggest that you could express yourself in a less inflammatory way, Les.

Though I know you've called me far worse, when I've miscalled a winning poker hand . . .

10/09/2007 3:09 PM  
Blogger les said...

Thanks, Dan; and my apologies, Travelingal--the final comment was an undirected response to the way this administration and the 28%'ers deal with those who disagree, and not to what I've seen of Trav. Not that I'm happy about uncritical repetition of propaganda from a criminally dishonest administration.

10/09/2007 3:54 PM  
Blogger les said...

And because I'm really disgusted with King George, and left out the obvious--that is, why the HHS site doesn't identify who the dirty adults are--here's how the bushbots administer the program:

"But Bush's deplorable response to expanding SCHIP is not just about opposing government provided services. ... In 2002, his Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation that stipulated "unborn children" -- but not the pregnant women carrying them!"

Yeah, those adults fattening at the government trough are mostly pregnant women, getting treatment for the coming child's sake. Awful. And some states actually allow children in the program to continue to receive treatment beyond age 18!!!! Awful!!!!

OK, OK I'll quit, I'll quit.

10/09/2007 4:52 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

For the record, I have long supported national health insurance for everyone. So, let's get on with it instead of Schipping it in place in a manner that treats people unequally depending on what state you live in. I can assure you that people in De Soto, Ks and people in De Soto, Mo are just as deserving as people in De Soto, Wis, but they sure don't get equal treatment under Schip.

10/10/2007 8:43 AM  
Blogger les said...

Travelingal, I wish your wish could happen; but, at least for the next year and a half, and maybe longer, universal coverage is a non-starter. Let's at least continue a successful program, and give it the money to reach more of its target. State differences are a mixed bag; we've long used state programs as "test beds" with the most successful eventually getting copied. But state differences have sometimes led to national programs--education, highways, minimum wage--when some states refuse to deal with problems. If Mo. and others won't step up to the plate, it may help motivate change to a national system to replace the madness we have now.

10/10/2007 9:02 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

The test bed you refer to affects my family in Kansas who pays (via taxes) for the family in Wisconsin, etc. who makes more than they do, while my family pays for their own and makes less. Explain to me how that is right?

Bush (and believe me I am so disgusted with him I could vomit) is right on this one. He supported an expansion of Schip but not to the extent the dems want and I agree with him. But, the dems have succeeded in painting him some sort of boogey man on this issue. Congrats. I concede defeat because not enough people bother to even know what's going on with Schip.

10/10/2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger les said...

"The test bed you refer to affects my family in Kansas who pays (via taxes) for the family in Wisconsin, etc. who makes more than they do, while my family pays for their own and makes less. Explain to me how that is right?"

Well, I don't know if it's "right;" but it is of course inevitable. And not necessarily accurate. Any government program that's based on delivering service will cost (spend) more in areas where the cost of living is higher, and vice versa. Of course, under a fair tax system, the Gov't will also be collecting more in areas where cost of living (and therefor wages/income) is higher. None the less, any federal program will shuffle taxes among states unevenly; currently, most "red states" (including Kansas) get more back in federal spending, including SCHIP and Medicare, than they pay--in 2004, Ks. got $1.12 for every $1 of Fed. income tax paid.

There's plenty to bitch about, taxes not least, in Bushworld. The notion that Kansans are subsidizing recipients of gov't services in other states doesn't happen to be one of them. Informed bitching leads to better results, hopefully. Or maybe not--but it's hard to see uninformed bitching coming to much, especially when information is not that hard to find and sources can be checked fairly easily.

10/11/2007 8:45 AM  
Blogger les said...

Sorry--meant to include the source; the info is from taxfoundation.org; the map is at http://tinyurl.com/2th5bh.

10/11/2007 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re; Adults on SCHIP. My state covers children under 19 and pregnant women. Of the 'adults' how many are 18-19
19-25 and full time students
18-25 and disabled
pregnant women?

I read the HHS.gov site several times but it reads like gop.com's talking points. They must know these numbers.

BTW, I love it when people say "I support national health insurance, but..."

10/15/2007 2:43 PM  
Blogger les said...

Anon, I tried to figure that out too; but even looking at the state level reports it's hard to tell. The answer appears to be "substantially all;" but I can't prove it. I definitely agree with your characterization of the HHS info--propaganda, pure and simple.

10/15/2007 5:35 PM  

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