George Will shares his thoughts on SCHIP,
SCHIP is described as serving "poor children" or children of "the working poor." Everyone agrees that it is for "low-income" people.It is described this way... by whom? Because when I look at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services SCHIP website, I read this:
CMS Administers the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Program benefits became available October 1, 1997 and will provide $24 billion in federal matching funds over 10 years to help states expand health care coverage to over 5 million of the nation's uninsured children.Not one mention of the word "poor". Perhaps what offends Will then is that states are actually afforded the right to share in the determination of who qualfies to participate in the SCHIP program? He lauds Bush's veto because it pares back the rights of states? And he has to "make stuff up" to make his argument more compelling?
The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is jointly financed by the Federal and State governments and is administered by the States. Within broad Federal guidelines, each State determines the design of its program, eligibility groups, benefit packages, payment levels for coverage, and administrative and operating procedures. SCHIP provides a capped amount of funds to States on a matching basis for Federal fiscal years (FY) 1998 through 2007. Federal payments under title XXI to States are based on State expenditures under approved plans effective on or after October 1, 1997.
Will whines about families who he believes to be too wealthy to be in need of help obtaining health insurance for their children:
Under the bill that Democrats hope to pass over the president's veto tomorrow, states could extend eligibility to households earning $61,950. But America's median household income is $48,201. How can people above the median income be eligible for a program serving lower-income people?Well, Gee, George - perhaps you have forgotten your years of prattle about how employment-based benefits are part of a "welfare state" that should be eliminated, and the resulting rise of the working uninsured. Perhaps you have totally overlooked what decent health care coverage costs these days - and how if you're not part of a decent group plan you can pay an extraordinary amount of money while getting very little actual coverage. And no matter how much you keep repeating "low income", while nobody has disputed that the SCHIP program has income limits which lead to that result, that does not appear to be among the program's actual goals or elements.
During my last period of being between employment-based insurance plans - during which I was paying COBRA benefits to maintain coverage probably inferior to that Will receives for free from his employer - I priced out "group" plans available through the State Bar. For my family, I found plans which charged $1,200 or more per month, and offered very poor coverage with significant deductibles. I paid my COBRA premiums quarterly, and they were rising several hundred dollars each quarter. The last bill, right before my wife obtained coverage through a new employer, was not far off from $20,000.00 per year.
Will has a lot more concern for the financial plight of the rich, but those are "his people". When do you suppose was the last time he spoke to somebody who works for a living, other than perhaps to explain to his cleaning lady, "Next time I want this toilet bowl to sparkle."