Bush Set to Veto Kids' Health Insurance

Ah, compassionate conservatism in action.

If insuring more kids near the poverty line means that a private insurer might lose a customer or two, we know who Bush feels more compassion for.

Hm, I have all kinds of feelings about this issue.

I like the idea of funding it with an increase on the Federal excise tax on tobacco products. I wonder if the tobacco lobby is part of the reason Bush is threatening a veto? That probably is something the OP should have mentioned as the fact the funding is going to be coming from the tobacco industry is fairly significant.

While I like where the money is coming from, I do agree that it is a problem if people are choosing the government dole over private options if they have the ability to pay. I think I’d be okay with the program if there were strict restrictions in place such that anyone who had an ability to afford private programs couldn’t switch to the government subsidized program.

Hmmm. Our OP is omitting something else as well.

Bush wants revisions made to the tax plan to make private health insurance more affordable. Now, support for such isn’t there right now, but might materialize if the veto pen were flashed.

We’ll see.

I think you misspelled that last word. It is actually spelled “lucrative”.

Since smokers are already paying 39 cents a pack in excise tax to the federal government plus excise and sales tax at the state level, (87 cents a pack plus 7.25% sales tax here in CA), I rather think they should look elsewhere.

How about adding an excise tax to carbonated drinks?

It took me a couple of reads to figure out Fratto’s words were spoken in support of a veto.

Cognitive dissonance, man.

Well, I think that if we go that route not all carbonated beverages should be taxed. Only the ones that have a caloric content or caffeine. I never smoke, and virtually never drink sodas. The one carbonated thing I do drink regularly is tonic water as I drink a lot of gin and tonics, so maybe the tax on carbonated beverages should exclude any that contain quinine, since drinking quinine is supposedly healthy!

However, I don’t feel sorry for the plight of smokers and would be fine with their excise tax going up much more than it is currently, for example if we’re only making them pay 39 cents a pack, we could make them pay $1, or even $2.

It’s not clear how many already insured kids will now be covered, but

Bush’s plan would raise the funding to $30 billion, or $5 billion over 5 years, probably less than medical inflation. So, it would be an actual cut to the program.

How would you measure ability anyway? I assume there are income restrictions on the plan already.

I’m glad that you see that as a good source of funding. Minor nitpick - the funding wouldn’t come from the tobacco industry, any more than the sales tax on retail purchases comes from retailers.

I have two problems with this.

One is that ability to afford private insurance is a sliding thing, even assuming you have access to a range of options through your job. On top of the uninsured population, there are a lot of underinsured people who still can’t afford anything like decent coverage for their kids. If some of these kids wind up getting insured through SCHIP, that’s probably good in and of itself.

My second problem is that insuring all children is just plain something that we, as a society, should do. Just like every other advanced democracy does. Maybe adults have some ‘right’ to take their chances with their own insurance, but few adults willingly let their kids go uninsured - and if they do, then it’s time for the rest of us to step in. If we can avoid it, the children shouldn’t be the ones to suffer for their parents’ assholery. Maybe we’ll subsidize some jerk of an adult in the attempt to get a bit nearer to insuring all kids, but that’s not his kid’s fault, and we shouldn’t make the kid suffer the consequences.

Well, Medicaid has a system for determining whether or not you are poor enough to receive its benefits, this program could do the same. In general I think very very few people who receive Medicaid benefits have the ability to pay otherwise, as Medicaid is relatively strict about the process from what I understand. They will even make you sell down your assets if you have too many. The exception of course would be people who receive Medicaid benefits because of a disability, I think the income/asset restrictions they face may not be as strenuous, but I’m not a Medicaid expert nor have I researched the matter very much.

The cited article mentions that there is no chance at getting this debated and passed in time for the renewal deadline. In any case, if the goal is to help the poor and near poor, how is favorable tax treatment on insurance going to assist those who pay little tax anyway? It will be great for me when I retire and have to pay for my own insurance, but I’ll muddle along without a government handout, thanks. I’d rather the money goes to those who really need it.

That’s a good point. It is mostly tobacco users who are contributing to health care costs though, so it would be a fair tax in my opinion. Worst case scenario is higher taxes drive people away from smoking, which decreases health care costs. It’s win-win.

Well, I think a fair system which can determine ability to pay can be worked out.

I’m not really sure it is to society’s benefit to pay for insurance for all children. Parents have a responsibility to their children, which includes spending money on them. Government can already mandate parents provide their children with food and clothing, I don’t think medical care is a far step.

That’s reasonable. The question is, how many of the 4 million uninsured kids who would get insurance from this program are uninsured because their parents, who could afford insurance, don’t get it?

I don’t see how many with private insurance would now get insurance free. It appears this is for kids only, btw, so parents with private insurance for themselves would have to keep it. My insurance didn’t go down at all when one of my kids moved off it, and it won’t go down when the second one does. Mine is individual and family, and that’s it.

You’re right - I didn’t C&P the entire article. My bad. :rolleyes:

And as the ranking GOP member of the committee said, there just isn’t time to deal with that before the SCHIP program expires.

And the near-poor whose kids are probably most of the uninsured kids, aren’t gonna be helped that much by tax changes anyway.

I don’t believe that even Bush believes he thinks he’ll be helping uninsured kids to any significant degree by holding out for tax changes of the sort he’s talking about. And it would certainly do far less for them than just expanding SCHIP.

Beyond the debate on the benefits, I’m curious how many Republicans are going to vote to uphold the veto of an unpopular benefit for healthcare for kids. Especially when the money comes from cigarette companies! You don’t have to be crack copywriter to create a nice campaign ad around that issue. Bush really doesn’t give a crap about his party any more, does he? Unless you are ideologically opposed to government aid for kids, any Pubbie voting with the President on this one might as well walk into the Potomac and save the voters the trouble. :slight_smile:

The Earned Income Tax Credit benefits lots of people who pay little tax, doesn’t it? This is a model we have used before.

In any case, seeing as I would love for any health care reform to be more responsive to market forces, I won’t condemn this move outright. I will see how it plays out in the near term.

USA? Health care?

Lost cause. Sucks to be poor. Great to be rich.

The fishkill zone would extend for a hundred miles.

Give a little, get a little. In this case, all that might be obtained is an assurance that Bush’s proposals will be taken up sometime soon.

In any case, I’m willing to bet that Bush will sign a revised version of this bill or pass a funding extension well before the deadline mentioned. Mark my words.

Win-win works for me too.

Think for a second of why most of us have medical insurance, but nobody buys food insurance. The cost of food is fairly predictable, but the cost of medical care isn’t. Medical care costs almost nothing, until the moment when it suddenly becomes a big deal. It’s not the sort of thing that can be mandated.

And even buying health insurance can’t be mandated unless access to affordable insurance is also mandated. And rather than mandating that the insurance company provide a certain amount of insurance below its cost to near-poor people, then mandate that those people buy the coverage, why not just let the government do the insuring directly, without all the mandating?