Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Boren Supports Child Health Insurance Program

AltTulsa is pleased to note the better-late-than-never support of Oklahoma Congressman Dan Boren on the children's health insurance program now before the U.S. House.

Boren, who voted against the program last week, explained to the Tulsa World's Jim Myers that his change of heart was the result of some soul searching.

"I didn't want to be the one to stop the program from going forward," Boren told the World.

Although the legislation expanding the program has passed the Senate with bipartisan support, its prospects in the House are less certain. President Bush has promised to veto the legislation, claiming that it is a step toward socialized medicine.

From what we've seen and heard, the President is wrong. Indeed, several conservative Republican senators have backed the bill and called on the President to support it.

But if he did, he would be committing "compassionate conservatism," a term that seems to have disappeared completely from the White House lexicon.

We can't imagine why.


Dan Paden said...

...several conservative Republican senators have backed the bill and called on the President to support it.

Bad mistake on the senators' part. My understanding is that the bill would raise the ceiling on how much income parents of a child can have before becoming ineligible to eighty thousand dollars. That's not helping out poor people--it's pandering for votes, an awful excuse for any kind of conservatism, and fully justifies a swift and dramatic veto.

Dan Paden said...

I double-checked, and while I found lots of material accusing Bush of being a mean-spirited fellow, I haven't yet found anything to contradict the basic objection to the currently-proposed SCHIP legislation: the bill greatly expands the number of people who would be eligible, to include, in some states, families of four with incomes up to 83, 000 dollars per year!

The bill isn't even about poor people, not really. The "limits," such as they are, are apparently all well above the poverty level. According to at least one writer, the new definitions would make eligible for taxpayer-subsidized coverage about ninety percent of children who are already privately insured, a sure sign that government is trying to usurp the role of the private sector in, as the president notes (getting it right for a change), a step toward socialized medicine.

Supporting such wasteful nonsense as throwing government money at people who are well able to pay for private insurance wouldn't be conservatism of any stripe, not even "compassionate" conservatism. The senators you mention are trolling for votes, and Bush should be more hard core on this issue, not less.

Jeff Shaw said...

One of the things that upsets me most about politics in America is this: If it sounds good it must be good.

Who in the world would ever be against child health care? And if you are against it, you must be an evil, evil person.

I don't have the answer to health care in America, but the way it is doesn't work, too expensive. The way the socialists want it won't work either.

There has to be a doctor / patient solution. Get the insurance companies and the government out of the equation and we will solve the problem.

Tulsan said...

"Get the insurance companies and the government out of the equation and we will solve the problem."

Jeff, I wish I shared your faith, but I don't. You are suggesting that patients work it out with doctors, and that is the plan??

Jeff Shaw said...

Well, in economics, the more agents you add to a particular problem, the greater the probability for error/cost. It follows, somewhat in Health Care. Back in the Ozzie and Harriet days, when there were doctors who lived by their Oath, Health care costs were considerably lower. That was pretty much pre-health insurance/pre-government intervention, as we know it today. Granted there have been many advances in medicine.

Jeff Shaw said...

I wouldn't pretend to have the answers to the problem. I just see what the problems are now. The Health care players as it is now:

Insurance Companies

Who are the main actors in this: Doctors and Patients. Take the other two agents out of the picture and you have cut the number of entities involved by half.

Jeff Shaw said...

One more thing. It's hard to imagine that MORE intervention by any entity would REDUCE real costs - which is the problem.

The problem isn't that government is not involved, the problem is that health care costs too darn much.

Alternative Tulsa said...

Hi Dan: We seem to have a factual disagreement. One source we consulted on SCHIP, its coverage and costs was factcheck.org. Based on their numbers, we felt (and still feel) comfortable supporting a program that has and will continue to assist children with health coverage. We believe that's why the bill has substantial GOP and public support.

Dan Paden said...

Y'know, I was gonna compose a long and detailed response, but it's late and I'm tired. I'll confine myself to a few quick points.

1) It would be helpful if y'all started putting in a link or two. I'm not just being sarcastic; while I applaud y'all's ability to disagree amicably, there is one very annoying thing about your blog: it seems to me that y'all hardly ever link to the news article or information source that you're commenting on.

2) It's not like Factcheck's accuracy is unassailed, so I hardly regard their assessment as being the final word. (That last link, if you didn't bother to look, was from Media Matters--I threw it in just for your sake.)

3) Even the FactCheck article I believe you referenced can easily be read as supporting my position, especially when you read this parenthetical insert as regards the 83, 000: (The compromise bill that was released a few days after Bush's press conference does rescind an administration effort to block New York state from increasing its eligibility cap to that level.) Translation: the adminstration did indeed try to keep New York from allowing families of four with incomes up to 83 large to be eligible for the program, and the bill ultimately vetoed did indeed allow New York to allow just that. True, there are time limits and caveats, but yes--rich blue-staters (or at least rich compared to moi--the Mrs. and I, with our four children, might crack forty grand this year. I ain't got no sympathy for poor Mr. and Mrs. Blue State at over eighty large per year--or at least not enough sympathy to throw federal money at them for any period of time.) would get the benefit of federal money.

Indeed, the majority of Factcheck's gripe with Bush seems to center around two things: this quote:Their proposal would result in taking a program meant to help poor children and turning it into one that covers children in households with incomes of up to $83,000 a year., but they misread it, interpreting it Bush saying that the legislation would force families earning those incomes into the programs. But that is not what Bush said, at least not in that quote--and as a result, it is hard to take the rest of the article seriously. It is hard to check a statement for factuality when it's not correctly understood.

And secondly, whether or not some of these coverage limits already exist or not. Personally, whether they exist or not already, I find them outrageous. As I've previously mentioned, the Mrs. and I might crack forty thousand this year. We would unquestionably fall within the income limits proposed under this legislation--and yet, our family is insured. Granted, it's not easy, but it can be done. Granting government benefits that aren't actually needed isn't "helping," it's pandering. Trolling for votes, as I said earlier.

It's darn hard for me to swallow the idea that eligibility caps like that don't constitute a step towards socialized medicine.

4) I'm quite willing to concede that you mean well; I simply disagree with your economics. To my mind, the problem is government: government pumps insane amounts of money into the healthcare system, resulting in greatly accelerated demand, which, absent a correspondingly accelerated increase in supply, results in rapidly climbing prices. Programs like SCHIP, then, do not ameliorate the problem, they are the problem. Obviously, you disagree, and I grant that the disagreement is sincere.

Allegedly conservative senators who probably know better but support this legislation anyway, though, will get no such concession from me or those like me. I don't grant their good intentions. I believe they are busily buying votes with taxpayer dollars.

Alternative Tulsa said...

Hi Dan: Thanks for your serious comment, very impressive work for a tired guy (and we mean this sincerely, since we know the feeling, not being 'spring chickens' ourselves). We'll try to do better on the links, which, as you suggest, is a good idea. We will have to continue to agree to disagree on SCHIP and other such programs. In general, we support government funding for programs that help those who need it most. In this case, we agree that it's not a perfect program and that the $80,000-plus salary cap seems far too high, which is why the Feds denied that figure earlier. That said, we also understand that the states want and need this block grant to help poor children. Finally, even Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has come out in support of the program, which we take as a good faith sign that there's real merit in spending federal tax dollars to assist needy families.

Carly said...

Keep up the good work.