Monday, September 03, 2007

When Ideology Clashes With Reality


In the mind of a Robert Novak, ideology always trumps reality:
Most of the dwindling contingent of Republican governors have abandoned conservative principles to embrace the Democratic-sponsored extension of SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) to people who are neither children nor poor. Only three -- Indiana's Mitch Daniels, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and South Carolina's Mark Sanford -- resist the lure of federal dollars.
If you embrace a form of "conservatism" where it is automatically "bad" for the government to take steps to ensure the availability of health insurance, primarily to low-income children already eligible for the program, even if there is no net increase in taxes.... You're a peculiar animal. Novak apparently has no beef with the fact that private insurance companies receive subsidies in order to "compete" with Medicare - for somebody like Novak it's apparently better that government money be wasted on subsidies in one public health insurance program, than that they be used to provide greater benefit to a greater number of people through another public health insurance program.

Meanwhile, governors looking at what it may presently mean to be "fully insured" can legitimately question the public cost of having uninsured children treated through emergency rooms, or leaving hospital bills unpaid, as compared to the public benefit of insuring a greater number of children. If they're not locked into ideology, it doesn't seem like that hard of a choice. To a Novak, there is fear that the greater success of public health programs over private could cause people to reconsider our system of private insurance, so it is better to subsidize private inefficiency and deny health care to children.

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