"As passed by the House, the State Children's Health Insurance Program,
known as SCHIP, will create a major new middle-class entitlement even as we face
looming national bankruptcy from our $50.5 trillion (yes, you read that number
right) in planned spending under Social Security and Medicare. Today, some 6.6
million kids are covered under SCHIP, at a cost of about $25 billion over five
years. The new bill raises that to 9 million kids covered, at a cost of $60
billion. It pays for it with a 61-cent hike in the tobacco tax. Sounds good,
except that tax will hit the poor hardest. And those it helps are not poor.
Under the new bill, families earning $83,000 a year could be eligible. If this
bill were targeted at the poor, President Bush and the Republicans wouldn't
oppose it. But it isn't. It's a new, radically expanded middle-class
I don't know that I feel like I want to take a stand on this issue. There are a number of parts of this bill that appeal to me. What does not appeal to me though, is the nature of the debate as it has been put forward by the democrats. It is the mean Republicans who don't want to provide health care to children versus the gentle Democrats. The facts are not that simple and clean cut. Another source of funding for this program has been reported to be a cut back in medical spending on the elderly.