August 1, 2007

Why do Republican politicians and George W. Bush hate children?

Krugman (subscription required)
When a child is enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (Schip), the positive results can be dramatic. For example, after asthmatic children are enrolled in Schip, the frequency of their attacks declines on average by 60 percent, and their likelihood of being hospitalized for the condition declines more than 70 percent.

Regular care, in other words, makes a big difference. That’s why Congressional Democrats, with support from many Republicans, are trying to expand Schip, which already provides essential medical care to millions of children, to cover millions of additional children who would otherwise lack health insurance.

But President Bush says that access to care is no problem — “After all, you just go to an emergency room” — and, with the support of the Republican Congressional leadership, he’s declared that he’ll veto any Schip expansion on “philosophical” grounds.

It must be about philosophy, because it surely isn’t about cost. One of the plans Mr. Bush opposes, the one approved by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Senate Finance Committee, would cost less over the next five years than we’ll spend in Iraq in the next four months. And it would be fully paid for by an increase in tobacco taxes.

The House plan, which would cover more children, is more expensive, but it offsets Schip costs by reducing subsidies to Medicare Advantage — a privatization scheme that pays insurance companies to provide coverage, and costs taxpayers 12 percent more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.

Strange to say, however, the administration, although determined to prevent any expansion of children’s health care, is also dead set against any cut in Medicare Advantage payments.


Note that cigarette smokers are paying for the entire cost of providing expanded health coverage for children. What happens when draconian and over-reaching anti-smoking measures kills the goose that lays the golden egg?

Beyond that, is there any possible argument for Republicans trying to defeat this program? Krugman posits that the reason they oppose it is that they always oppose any program which will show that government can provide desperately needed services more effectively, and more efficiently, and at lower cost than big corporations. True?

10 Comments:

At 8/01/2007 8:42 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Come on Dope, you know this is the first step towards socialized medicine, which is the first step towards a socialist America.

Healthcare for children? Why don't you just move to England or something.

PFF

 
At 8/02/2007 6:35 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I'll assume you're being sarcastic. You can't possibly be serious.

After all, if you are, you'd really freak out when you learn that there's a LOT of socialism woven into our government system and always has been. Can you say, Social Security? Or maybe the interstate highway system? How about our entire military?

I've never understood why people seem to unthinkingly consider socialism as some sort of evil system. Pure socialism is likely unworkable and undesirable, but it certainly has is place, as is shown by it's incorporation into our national fabric.

(By the way, I've always found it interesting that for many years, Davenport was dominated policically by Socialists, with Socialist mayors, etc.)

 
At 8/02/2007 9:45 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Of course I'm joking ;)

I agree that socialism is woven into various parts of the American lifestyle. I completely agree that there are many socialist aspects to the American lifestyle that have proven successful.

I think a system of pure socialism is pretty undesirable as well, but so would be pure capitalism. Imagine hospitals only being owned by corporations that sold services like a cartel at high prices. Imagine what a disaster our nutrition would be with only McDonald's running the food sytem. UGH

In the end, Bush probably did this because.... kids don't vote! Kids don't even know what voting is! Kids just want to feel better during a fever..

 
At 8/02/2007 12:07 PM, Blogger Benton Harbor said...

Dope, it would seem that many Republicans are for this. I question Krugman's use of the quote from Bush... "with the support of the Republican Congressional leadership, he’s declared that he’ll veto any Schip expansion on “philosophical” grounds.

In light of the fact that many Repubs seem to be behind this program, does Bush me he already HAS the support of leadership, or is he saying that after he "convinces" the leadership to join him, he'll veto the expansion?

You ask if there is any possible argument for trying to defeat the program. Krugman opines that the reason Republicans would like to scuttle expansion is that they oppose any program which will show that government can provide services more effectively, efficiently, and at lower costs than big corporations.

Corporations answer to boards and stockholders. If they're not making money on something, they have to ditch it. Government has no such oversite (really). Think of the layers of beauracracy in our government. This is efficient and low-cost? There's an old joke: A visitor to a government installation asks his guide "How many people work here?" The guide answers, "About 20%."

I'm confused on whether or not Bush really has the backing of Republican leadership on this. (And no, I didn't read the article due to subscription.)

 
At 8/02/2007 12:18 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

Big Biz has always demonized both Communism and Socialism from the times that these parties backed the Labor movement. They've had the bucks to do it, and they've been trying lately to do the same to the Democrats.

Interestingly, Big Biz seems to have no such qualms about fascism.

 
At 8/02/2007 1:53 PM, Anonymous NoonCat said...

Don't forget Medicaid/Medicare, which is itself a form of socialized medicine. Rural electrification also qualifies as a socialist project.

 
At 8/04/2007 7:06 AM, Anonymous Jim Mowen said...

Interesting that you have this post right above the post discussing the budget woes of Illinois - who has government healthcare for children.

It is not that Republicans hate children, it is that Republicans appreciate 'personal responsibility' over government hand-outs - and Republicans understand (or used to) that someone has to pay the bill and that sticking it to the taxpayers is not a viable long-term solution to every problem and/or concern.

 
At 8/04/2007 8:42 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thank God they didn't "stick it to the taxpayer" to do repairs to the bridge in Minnisota.

People are going to wake up to just how much damage this greedy "no taxes ever" and "government should be eliminated" bullshit from the right has done.

The very idea of expecting to reap the benefits of this country, make a better living than 99% of the planet, and then run around bitching about paying what is one of the lowest tax rates among advanced nations always has been, and always will be, illogical and rooted in pure, simple, greed and selfishness.

The "every man for himself" philosophy is disasterous for society, and we're only beginning to see the harm it's done when these ideologues have been able to put it into practice during Republican administrations.

I suppose we're all supposed to keep our own air clean, test our own food, ensure our drugs are safe and pure, put in our own sewer lines in front of our homes, etc.?

It's every man for himself, but it's sure not every corporation for themselves, as they get every break and handout imaginable.

If an industry even begins to look like it's taking a downturn or suffering a loss, there's a dozen politicians rushing to hand out tax dollars.

But when it comes to things like infrastructure, schools, and yes, health care for children, for God's sake, you righties suddenly get stingy and cry poor.

And I won't even get into the BILLIONS squandered and stolen in Iraq.

 
At 8/09/2007 9:18 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

The US Constitution says the federal government is responsible for defense and to regulate trade and commerce. Where does the Constitution say anything about providing accessible health care? IT DOESN'T.

 
At 8/10/2007 4:22 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico,

So what?

Our country can't do anything that's not SPECIFICALLY spelled out in the constitution?

What an absolutely bizarre notion.

If that were the case, we'd be a banana republic.

Where in the constitution does it say that the federal government should ensure that our drugs are safe? Where's the article dealing with providing interstate highways and airports and all the billions of dollars of equipment and personnel to keep the airline industry going?

What part of the constitution says that the elderly should get any sort of help whatsoever in their old age?

Are you truly saying that you'd eliminate ALL social programs, and ALL federal programs unless they're specifically spelled out in the constitution?

Surely you jest.

 

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