Bill Murchison

From families with $62,000 annual incomes, it's the merest jump to the governmental embrace of families with incomes of $82,000. Once at that level, what stands between Congress and expansion of government health insurance to the whole population? Excepting, of course, those popular caricatures, "the wealthy," for whom all Republican-generated tax cuts are supposedly tailored and crafted. It's what we might call the incremental approach to a problem that registers with voters.

But I earlier said Bush, in vetoing the children's health insurance bill, was saving his critics and adversaries from themselves. How so?

First, better means of solving the health insurance conundrum exist -- namely, extension to the whole population of tax-exempt savings accounts for health care. Why should there be insurance in the first place, except for the worst stuff, generally known as "catastrophic"? Insurance you pay for but don't use is money down the drain. The more you expand government health insurance, the unlikelier it becomes you'll try what actually would work -- like choice.

Second, bad as the present system may be, it beats the national system for which control freaks clamor: an English- or Canadian-type system, financed by whopping taxes, wherein entitlement to access is offset by the inadequacy of the care such access provides.

Not even the "Bush vs. Kids" fraternity -- I earnestly hope -- yearn for a system that puts crucial health care decisions in the hands of Those Who Know Best for Us. The president's veto, which stalls briefly anyway the rush to national health insurance, is a favor to everyone -- not least those who imagine voters rush right out to thank the politician whose schemes make life costlier and harder than it was to begin with.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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