The greatest gifts you can give your children can't be boxed and bowed. Consider the timeless gift of self-sufficiency -- a stubborn thirst to leave the nest, make it on your own and live as a free-willed adult. It's a concept that Big Nanny Democrats are sabotaging at every legislative turn.
Several times during the sneaky debate on the government health care takeover bill this past Sunday, Democrats hailed a provision requiring insurance plans that cover dependents to provide benefits to children up to age 26. Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Tom Harkin both specifically championed the unfunded mandate in their floor statements.
This manifestation of the Nanny State is especially galling given the massive levels of generational theft the Democratic majority has presided over this past year. If they truly cared about the physical and financial well-being of young Americans, they'd stop piling on expensive regulations that simply put affordable health insurance out of their reach.
I propose a new symbol for the Democrats. Out: donkey. In: a giant adult pacifier.
I can tell you what most fiscally responsible parents are thinking when they hear the feds "taking care" of everyone else's adult "children" by confiscating their tax dollars and forcing private companies to comply: You've got to be kidding me.
Nonetheless, there are now an estimated 20 states that have already passed legislation requiring insurers to cover adult children. The slacker mandates cover "kids" ranging in age from 24 to 31. And it's these government health care mandates that are driving up the cost of insurance.
Health policy researcher Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation reported that in New Jersey, Nanny State peddlers claimed the adult kiddie protection law would help 100,000 uninsured young adults. "Yet in two years, only 6 percent of that estimate has been realized. The primary reason -- health insurance is still too expensive."
Wisconsin has experienced similar results. "Whenever you insure somebody whom you didn't insure before there's some additional risk," insurance expert James Mueller told the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. Mueller points to the premium increases that have followed coverage mandates on employer-sponsored plans. "The problem with all these good ideas is there's funding necessary," Mueller said. In Wisconsin, not only are adult children covered, but also the children of those "children" if they live in single-parent homes.
As he rammed through this mandate and the mountain of other government regulations buried in Demcare, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised on Sunday: "We are reshaping the nation. That's what we want to do."
Indeed, this defining dependency up phenomenon is part of the larger push for single-payer-by-proxy. The other universal health care Trojan horse signed into law this year -- the expansion of SCHIP (the State Children's Health Insurance Program) -- welcomed more non-"children" into the government insurance fold.
Both political parties have advocated federal waivers to use SCHIP funds for adults, including parents of Medicaid/SCHIP children, caretaker relatives, legal guardians and childless adults. According to the General Accounting Office, SCHIP-funded expenditures on adults nationwide "totaled about $674 million in 2006." J.P. Wieske of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance notes that the bennies provide an incentive for parents to drop their private coverage in order to take advantage of free or discounted health insurance for their children. "It has become a program for the middle class at the expense of the poor."
This is the engine that will power the Demcare architects' most naked, radical ambitions: "Health care as an inalienable right," as Sen. Harkin put it. How? By breeding a massive permanent culture of dependency and bottomless debt in the name of the "children" from birth through quarter-life -- and beyond.