The Daily Show and SCHIP

Last Thursday Jon Stewart was in rare form and had great bait – the SCHIP veto. Enjoy.

Just as a disclaimer – I don’t mean for these clips to be part of any serious debate, but I want to lighten the mood a bit.

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3 responses to “The Daily Show and SCHIP

  1. I know there has to be two sides to this veto. And even though I’ll probably still think the President performed a huge disservice to young Americans, I have to ask myself first: what was he fighting against? Was there something about the bill that wasn’t good enough? Was there a downside that no one’s talking about?

    Lucas, was the only reason that Bush vetoed the bill merely to circumvent a “slippery slope” towards socialized health care? That’s it?! I don’t really hear anyone defending the President (perhaps because I don’t watch FOX news), but I’d like to know the other side of the story. I’ll probably still disagree with the President’s decision, but at least I’ll know his reasoning.

    So, would you mind (if you have time) explain the downside (if any) to this particular bill? what were the costs?

  2. From the top of my head these are arguments against the expansion of SCHIP (or for the President’s veto).

    1. The expansion of SCHIP will cover kids who are not poor and who already have private insurance. This is the crowd out effect, and the logic goes that kids who already have insurance will drop it and sign up for SCHIP undermining our current system. Studies have shown that crowd out is a real phenomenon, but its ability to undermine the system is very questionable.

    2. As you said SCHIP is a slippery slope to socialized medicine. The problem with this is that private insurance companies contract with SCHIP to provide the insurance. From the kids perspective they have insurance just like any person with an employment based insurance. There is nothing socialized about it except that the premiums are paid by tax dollars.

    3. Piggy-backing on this last rationale is the idea of small government over large government. The needed tax revenue to expand any program comes with a certain loss of economy (or welfare) making the overall total benefit for all people less. This is an economical argument and an ideological stance that used to be very key to the conservative Republicans (they have a point here). However, the SCHIP expansion is being paid for by a tax on cigarettes. Yes, generally speaking poorer people smoke so it is regressive, but cigarette’s taxes have been shown to decrease smoking rates. Not a bad side effect! However, Trent Lott used the argument that the tax would decrease smoking to a point that it would no longer cover SCHIP, and therefore, would come at the expense of the general tax payer and a loss of economy. The way I see it, either way we win. Either we eradicate smoking (unlikely) or we fund health care for kids.

    4. An SCHIP expansion provides incentives for States to increase spending to people who do not need it. This rationale makes some sense with Medicaid. The federal funds with Medicaid are matching. As the State spends money the federal government kicks in money. So the more the State spends the more the State gets. SCHIP is different. It is a block grant in which the State gets a certain amount of funds to run the program that best fits the State’s needs (under federal guidelines). So SCHIP shouldn’t really provide incentive for increasing insurance in needless ways like it is argued that Medicaid does.

    5. This point is not the President’s but is a rationale against an SCHIP expansion. The more people who are captured by patchwork health care fixes such as SCHIP the less incentive there will be to enact real true comprehensive health care reform.

    Lastly, and this a clarification of what congressional SCHIP expansion looks like as I understand it. I may be wrong on some of the details as I have only been able to piece them together. However, it seems to me that the expansion of SCHIP actually does not allow any State to increase SCHIP eligibility to higher income levels without getting administrative approval. The expansion just allows for the possibility of getting approval. And the grant at these higher levels would be less than the current levels so it would not be in the most States’ best interest to raise eligibility requirements. Only in States like New York with high living expenses would this expansion be likely. Second, the proposal detailed by President Bush would actually be cut, not an increase as they promote. The $5 billion increase that Bush asked for does not cover the rising costs in health care.

  3. Very informative! Thanks for answering my question(s).

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