Monday, October 1, 2007

Congress to kill thousands with new S-CHIP funding

In Sassy Sundries Week In Review She sites the following:

“W has no problem throwing billions and billions of dollars down the drain in Iraq but can’t bring himself to sign off on an extension of the S-CHIP program to cover uninsured children. Compassionate conservatism much? Minus Three”

What Sassy did not address is how this Program is to be funded and the broader net cast for income eligibility being the reason that the President does not want to sign this Bill.

This Program was originally intended to provide coverage to those children whose are low-income, whose families earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid but lack private health insurance. Vulnerable children—minorities, children and adolescents with special health care needs, and the long-term uninsured. If you ask me that description covers a large majority of our countries children and those it does not cover are usually carried on their parents insurance. Besides there are more insurance options for those families who fall between those cracks, Healthy Kids is just one example here in NH. They offer reduced Health Insurance costs but not free insurance!

Let me share with you how the Congress plans on funding this Program for the next five years. The major source of additional income to fund the Bill will be from taxing those who smoke with an average cost increase of $.61 per pack. Cigarettes in NH now cost an average of $4.25 per pack.

Increasing the tobacco tax is an asinine way to fund this Program because the largest portion of the increase would fall on poor and low-income families and young people. Statistics say that smokers are more likely to be poor or low-income than wealthy.

By expanded tobacco tax, SCHIP expansion to a higher income levels would largely be funded by lower income people. The very people who can least afford it. The very people the Democrats continue to rally to SAVE! The very people that are being paraded in front of the White House today in an effort to shame the President into signing a Bill that is inherently flawed. Please read the following:

The Heritage Foundation: July 11, 2007
Forty-three percent of smokers are ages 24 to 44. Placing the burden of expanding this program on the shoulders of any small subset of the population is unfair. Neither low-income families nor young adults should be held responsible for funding an unnecessary expansion of SCHIP

Not only are some policymakers considering imposing a large, new burden on a small portion of the population, but they have chosen a revenue source that is in decline and will decrease even faster if the tax rate rises. Due to the sensitivity of consumers to increases in the price of tobacco products (known as "price elasticity"), the average consumer purchases fewer cigarettes when the price increases.

Consequently, the additional revenue generated from increasing the tax will decline over time Due to this price elasticity, policymakers will somehow need to recruit new smokers if they insist on using the tobacco tax revenue to support SCHIP at proposed funding levels over the long term. In just five years, Congress will need over 9 million new smokers. Reauthorizing the program for 2013 to 2017 would require almost 22.4 million new smokers by the end of that period.

We all know that smoking in on the decline. You can’t smoke anywhere anymore and soon the cost of cigarettes will be so high people will just quit. So when that happens and those poor children’s health care is no longer funded what will happen. Yes, that is a rhetorical question. With a Dem sure to be at the helm of this Country the next time this funding comes around and a majority Dem Congress also in charge, the rest of us will again get the TAX SHAFT! They will raise taxes. So with all due respect Sassy, there is a GOOD reason that W does not want to sign this Bill. I hope he doesn't cave to the "Popular" consensus on this one!


dive said...

Good point, Prudence.
With all of us lefties ranting around it's good to have your balance to keep us grounded.
Taxing smoking is indeed a tax on the poor, regardless of whether smoking is right or wrong.

Petrol over here is $2 a litre and no-none complains (not too much anyway). And SUVs are to be charged $50 a day to park in Central London.
Think what the US government could fund with those prices. Hospitals, schools, more wars, anything they liked.
Leave the poor alone and tax the wasters who drive huge 4x4s with one person in 'em.

Just my opinion.
Thanks for speaking out, Prudence.

Dear Prudence said...

Especially, more wars cuz that’s what all us neo-cons want!!!
Sorry Dive couldn't resist!

You should be complaining about gas prices. It is funny how on one hand you complained about sitting and waiting for a Doctor for 5+ hours, and on the other hand suggest that the Government should have more control of people’s lives. That is your Government run health care system, it is the control you have given them. I have read about Canada's HC System and it is worse than yours and the Government is all over that! I can call my Dr. in the morning (8:00am) and sometimes get an appt if not with him one of his colleagues with in hours. Sometimes within minutes!

There are many issues that I think you (Lefties) might think differently about if more questions were asked and answered! I just don't have the time!

M.Benaut said...

Good for you Prudence for pointing out the finer detail. As an ex-political staffer here in Oz, I appreciate the policy points you made. Well done.
xxx Mme Benaut

Dear Prudence said...

Thanks Mme B. as I said to Dive there are many issues I would love to illiterate on but I have limited time to research and blog. But sometimes I must!

Fresh Hell said...

Way to speak your mind, sista! You raise some great points. I stay away from political debate because usually I can see the validity in most positions. People generally really like to engage in debates supporting their position. I can't bear it. I'm too neutral. Plus, when it comes to debate, I'd rather engage in one about the usefullness of mushrooms, or lack of usefullness of mushrooms as the case is. You know, important stuff. ;)

Sassy Sundry said...

And what is he using to pay for the war, Prudence? The rich people's money?

Rich said...

Well when it comes to smoking your argument may be valid but people DO NOT HAVE TO SMOKE. I'm not for or against this bill in fact I'm totally ignorant of it.

Dear Prudence said...

Fresh, I usually don't engage too much in politcal debates either, it is just that again the media is portraying W as this evil monster when in fact he has valid reasons to veto at least for this particular Bill.

Sassy, quite honestly YES! It is the richest who pay the most in taxes I can honestly tell you that neither you or I really contibute more than a drop in a very large bucket... Honestly, I actually gain $ at the end of the year when I file my taxes because of my status (head of household) with a mortage and kids at home. The GOV. actually ends up paying me back more than I contribute. So believe me it is not the poor or even low/middle class people who are funding the war.

zirelda said...

I just wish they would come up with something that would cover everyone. I make too much for Colorado's CHP+ program and for Medicaid. I simply cannot afford $300+ per month for insurance for my daughter and her father sure as hell isn't going to contribute. She went without insurance for 5 years because I couldn't afford it. There has to be a solution not only for our kids but for our adults as well.

If I weren't covered at work, I wouldn't be covered period. Even with coverage at work I still pay a copay, a deductible and 20%. I had a kidney stone last year, spent 6 hours in the emergency room and I'm still paying it off 14 months later. I don't want to know how much I'll owe if something really serious happens.

Sorry, that subject gets me all riled up.

Dear Prudence said...

Z, I understand my children are now covered by their dads insurance as it was written in the divorce but there have been times when they have been on mined because he doesn't work regularly.

Maria said...

Oh, boy....

I am going to have to skip this one because my blood is boiling.

I work in the medical field and the consequences I have seen because of the fact that this country has a disgraceful record for helping under/uninsured children is truly an embarrassment to all of us. More can and should be done.

We can argue semantics forever, but the truth of the matter is that since the Clinton administration, there has been pitifully little done to help these children. No child left behind? Give me a fucking break....

Dear Prudence said...

Maria, I am not sure what the laws are where you are at but there is available health care here no matter your income level. You can not and will not be turned away. There are so many programs available but it is usally the parents who don't bother to enroll the kids. At least that is what I have seen here.

Maria said...

Oh, dear. I'm not trying to pick a fight, honest.

I have worked in hospitals, private practice and finally, in a clinic. The ER rooms were jammed with people who had no insurance but knew that they had to be helped, often the children were in dire straits as their illness had not been seen until it was life threatening. In private practice, we were not even allowed to see patients without health insurance unless they paid upfront. In the clinic, yes...we did see patients, but the equipment was deplorable and outdated and unless we could give children free samples, our prescriptions would go unfilled. There was no money to fill them and while many were on public aide, there were just as many who slipped through the cracks, not eligible. One woman who barely made minimum wage at a convenience store was ineligible because she made too much money to be on government assistance. It was as if she were being punished for trying.

Yes, there is care in emergencies, or at clinics. But, what sort of care are we talking here? The kind that can be provided in private practice to a family who is lucky enough to carry the blue shield? It simply does not happen in clinics. They are overstretched in every direction and there aren't enough hands to help.

We need a system that helps ALL children. ALL. There are Francie Nolans out there who need us. I don't care WHAT it costs, we will pay in the future if we don't help these children now.

Scout said...

I'm with Fresh Hell in that I can usually see both sides, and I recognize that there are valid points to the bill that should be refined and put forward to the public, along with the real reasons why the president vetoed it. I don't believe either side has been given all of the facts.

Either way, Pru, I appreciation the time and effort you put into gathering facts and forming an intelligent opinion.

Dear Prudence said...

Thanks Robin!