Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Oh, lordy.

I've only been passively following this whole SCHIP debate, but when I decided to take a look into it, one thing became glaringly obvious: it's a very small step away from socialized medicine.

Essentially SCHIP boils down to publicly subsidized insurance for families making less than ~$37K/year. It sounds great: get the kids insured, keep them healthy. Do it for the kids! The kids!

But underneath that rosy glow of altruism is another erosion of personal responsibility. When Amanda and I first began to discuss having a child, one of the most important issues we had to face was money. Could we afford to have a child? Not just labor & delivery, and not just food and education, but health-care, clothing, activities, transportation, child-care, and anything else that might arise.

I pored over our family finances, looked for ways that we could reduce our spending, turned back the A/C & heat, and started looking for ways to get more overtime, if necessary.

We took the decision to have a child very seriously, and saw it as a responsibility that we shared with noone else. We would be responsible for feeding the child. We would be responsible for clothing the child. And we would be responsible for footing the entire bill. Granted, I am very well insured through my company, and that was important. It made me take my job more seriously so as not to jeopardize my position.

SCHIP removes that responsibility. No longer will families have to wonder: "can we afford a child"? The state makes the simple answer of Yes! And worse: I pay for it.

And far worse, it puts us a step closer to the liberal dream of socialized medicine. We already had Medicaid, but apparently SCHIP is designed to help those families that fall between Medicaid maxima and whatever society now deems "middle class" (which at present apparently starts around $37,000).

Now, the viciously conservative side of me says that instead of helping the poor like this, we should ask the poor to help society by waiting until they can bloody-well afford to have children.

The more pragmatic side of me sees this as a liberal incursion into personal responsibility that will ultimately end in socialized medicine. See, right now it's just "insurance". The government can help you pay for your problems but won't interfere. Eventually I see programs like this expanding to either all children or low-income families as a whole. From there, I can see assistance becoming requirement, where instead of the government offering to pick up your co-pay, they call you and tell you it's time for your checkup, but don't worry: it's free!

So what, right? Free health-care is great! Yes, it is, but there's a reason why Brits and Canadians come to the US for medical assistance: they might have the guarantee of free health-care, but they have to wait months for a simple doctor's visit, and there's no incentive for qualified surgeons to stay in those countries (they can't earn what they're worth).

The far-reaching implication, as I see it, is the further erosion of the US economy. The United States has long been seen as a service-oriented economy, with most manufacturing going overseas. But what services can we offer the world that will remain in demand? Movies? Sure, but the one field we positively own is medicine. We have the best medical facilities in the world, along with the best doctors. We have some of the highest success rates, and are continually driving medicine forward.

If we succumb to socializing the environment, we will lose our position as a world leader in this most important service industry.

And if we continue rolling out expensive social programs, we remove the incentive for the wealthy to invest in our economy, AND if we keep mucking up Social Security (SCHIP is part of the Social Security Department), it's only going to get worse for future generations to untangle.

So fight SCHIP. Fight for personal freedoms, responsibilities, and rights. Fight for the dissolution of intrusive government agencies*, and against the incursions of the left.

*I've been proselytizing at work about what it would take to "fix" portions of our economy. Part of my plan (and it's far-reaching) would be to dissolve Social Security, the Department of Education, and the IRS; return all the money paid into Social Security to the workers, allowing (and encouraging) them to invest that money; and revert to a federal taxation architecture more in line with the Constitution, which expressly forbids direct taxation of the people and calls for the States to pay for the US government. Maybe I'll expand on this in another post, but it kind of depends on me being king for a while...

1 comment:

JamieSmitten said...

I'm not completely with you on this one. Yes, I think that the decision to become reponsible for another (child, pet, significant other) should be made carefully. But I've lived in Canada and participated in their medical care. I also have Canadian relatives who are doctors, therapists, etc. It isn't a perfect system, but it does ensure access to care for all. I think that's important and I'll pay a portion of my taxes to support it. No country can remain strong if its citizens are dying. Dang. This feels awfully deep for a Tuesday night.