In “Alice in Wonderland,” during the tea party, the Mad Hatter sat down to a beautiful white linen tablecloth. He proceeded to make a mess in front of himself, but instead of cleaning up, he just moved to another spot and made another mess. And so on down the table.
The other day, I realized that parable was applicable to the government-run State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
If Lewis Carroll were writing today, he might include members of Congress along with the fantastically unusual beings on the other end of the looking glass. Carroll’s narratives seem to peg the essence of big government. His characters certainly embody government run amok. They often worked mindlessly, creating messes that others had to clean up.
Congress’s free-spending majority is nudging the nation toward government-run universal health care. Its SCHIP expansion is a case in point.
Government has proven itself an inferior provider of health care coverage. Medicaid’s budget busting waste and poor quality of care are the prime examples. Still, liberals in Congress believe the best way to address the waste and inadequate care provided to many Americans of low income is to make the program a middle-class entitlement.
Most conservatives support helping the children of low-income families get health care. And because they support helping them, they opposed the current SCHIP bill that Congress passed and that President Bush vetoed.
This bill was not about helping children of low-income families. It was about growing state-controlled single-payer health care coverage and political gamesmanship. Such coverage will damage the health care system all children need.
Medicaid already provides free health care for children living in poverty. Most of those children are in families making less than $20,000 a year.
SCHIP applies to families making too much to qualify for Medicaid. Presently, most of the program’s recipients are in families making between $20,000 and $40,000 a year.
But, many recipients under the bill passed by Congress would be children in families making $60,000 or more.
That’s not a program to assist those of low income. That’s the expansion of middle-class reliance on government-controlled health care. It creates a new government entitlement.
Our nation’s concern for the poor should not be exploited for the purpose of government expansion.