Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sappy Emotionalism Passed Off As "Critical Thinking"

I hate crapola like this: Bush Administration Escalates War Against Middle Income Children’s Health Insurance

Yeah, yeah. Because God knows, the more dead American children there are the better George Bush likes it.

What a bunch of garbage.

Here is what the original NY Times articles says:

The Bush administration, continuing its fight to stop states from expanding the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, has adopted new standards that would make it much more difficult for New York, California and others to extend coverage to children in middle-income families.

Administration officials outlined the new standards in a letter sent to state health officials on Friday evening, in the middle of a month-long Congressional recess. In interviews, they said the changes were aimed at returning the Children’s Health Insurance Program to its original focus on low-income children and to make sure the program did not become a substitute for private health coverage.


The poverty level for a family of four is $20,650 in annual income. New York now covers children in families with income up to 250 percent
[$51,625] of the poverty level. The State Legislature has passed a bill that would raise the limit to 400 percent of the poverty level — $82,600 for a family of four — but the change is subject to federal approval.

California wants to increase its income limit to 300 percent of the poverty level, from 250 percent [$51,625]. Pennsylvania recently raised its limit to 300 [$61,950] percent, from 200 percent [$41,300]. New Jersey has had a limit of 350 [$72,275] percent for more than five years.


In the letter sent to state health officials about 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dennis G. Smith, the director of the federal Center for Medicaid and State Operations, set a high standard for states that want to raise eligibility for the child health program above 250 [$51,625] percent of the poverty level.

Before making such a change, Mr. Smith said, states must demonstrate that they have “enrolled at least 95 percent of children in the state below 200 percent of the federal poverty level” who are eligible for either Medicaid or the child health program.

In other words, the Bush administration wants the program to serve actual low-income people before it is allowed to become a middle class entitlement.

The bastards!

Now, one can quibble about the income cut off levels, of just what the scope of any middle class health care subsidy should be, or if special provisions should be made for areas with unusually expensive cost-of-living/housing costs...but none of that justifies the hysteria on display at TMV.

The "argument" behind such a view is, to all intents and purposes, the same as claiming "There is no morally legitimate way to argue against my position." Any such claim is garbage.


Just for giggles I looked at the health insurance plans offered by Blue Cross in California. For a family of four living in the Haight there were ten plans offered with monthly premiums of between $209 to $384. Of course, health insurance needs vary from family to family, but it doesn't seem impossible to get affordable coverage in principle, especially for a family bringing home between $4000 and $5000 a month income. I'm not saying some folks might not need help with prescription drug costs or catastrophic care, but dealing with such costs is not the point of the SCHIP program.


coldH2O said...

Well, you would be wrong.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Sure I could. But the only way we are ever gonna know is if there is a rational discussion of the various merits of this plan. It would be the same with any piece of public policy legislation.

I'm just not gonna buy that one of the "problems" we suffer from is that folks in Monmouth, New Jersey making $70,000 a year simply cannot afford to have health insurance for their families, so it is a job only the government can do.

Anonymous said...

"Just for giggles I looked at the health insurance plans offered by Blue Cross in California. For a family of four living in the Haight there were ten plans offered with monthly premiums of between $209 to $384."

Which makes me wonder why my damn COBRA coverage when I leave my job was going to be $750 per month just for me (or $1200 per month for a mother and child). It could be that the Blue Cross rate in California is mandated by the state, or is part of a group coverage and is not necessarily available to individual families.

Or I'm getting soaked.


The Iconic Midwesterner said...

They love to try to sell you plans that have WAY too much coverage. "Hey for an extra $75 a month you can have our 'toe saver' special which will give you an extra five dollars a week if you are ever sidelined with a hangnail."

$750 sounds pretty steep. I'm assuming it is pretty comprehensive though.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty good (it's a PPO, not an HMO) but it's still has copays, and I would have to pay 10% of everything. The ironic thing (and I use the term loosely) is that the regular employe coverage dropped from 90/10 to 80/20 while employee contributions went up, but the only choice with the COBRA is the 90/10.

Thank goodness I can get on my wife's plan.