Wednesday, October 10, 2007

SCHIP foolishness

NYT reported There have been moments when the fight between Congressional Democrats and President Bush over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program seemed to devolve into a shouting match about who loves children more. So when Democrats enlisted 12-year-old Graeme Frost, who along with a younger sister relied on the program for treatment of severe brain injuries suffered in a car crash,

Hillary wants to force people to buy Health Insurance like we force them to buy Car Insurance. Why did the Frost's car insurance not pay for the treatment? It is because the insurance we make them carry is for damage done to someone else, not to themselves, and the kids were hurt when the family SUV hit a patch of black ice and slammed into a tree. Graeme sustained a brain stem injury; Gemma suffered a cranial fracture.
to give the response to Mr. Bush’s weekly radio address on Sept. 29, Republican opponents quickly accused them of exploiting the boy to score political points.... Certainly the Frosts are not destitute. They also own a commercial property, valued at about $160,000, that provides rental income. Mr. Frost works intermittently in woodworking and as a welder, while Mrs. Frost has a part-time job at a firm that provides services to publishers of medical journals.
Maybe one of them should get a full time job.
Her job does not provide health coverage. Under the Maryland child health program, a family of six must earn less than $55,220 a year for children to qualify. The program does not require applicants to list their assets, which do not affect eligibility.
If I did not have to list my assets, I would qualify for Medicaid, which pays a lot more than the Medicare disability payments I live on. Why does SCHIP ignore assets?
In a telephone interview, the Frosts said they had recently been rejected by three private insurance companies because of pre-existing medical conditions.
Maybe rather than providing free insurance (or forcing people to buy their own, as Hillary wants) Congress should disappow insurance companies to refuse to insure because of preexisting conditions.
“We stood up in the first place because S-chip really helped our family and we wanted to help other families,” Mrs. Frost said.

Baltimore Sun reported A pseudonymous contributor to Free Republic cataloged the $20,000 cost of tuition at the Park School, the $160,000 Halsey Frost paid for his warehouse in 1999 and the $485,000 for which a neighbor sold his home in March. Links were provided to photos of the Park School's 44,000-square- foot Wyman Arts Center and the Frosts' 1992 wedding announcement in The New York Times.

Soon strangers were posting accusatory messages describing Halsey Frost as a business owner who lived on a street of half-million-dollar homes,
$485K is pretty close
worked out of his own commercial property
he owns the property, whether he works out of it or not
and paid to send his children to private school,
He pays $500, and the government pays the rest; why is that better?
yet still took advantage of government-funded health care.
And Bush does not seek to take him off of SCHIP. Just not extend the program where people making twice as much also qualify.
"Bad things happen to good people, and they cause financial problems and tough choices," Mark Steyn wrote on the National Review Online. "But, if this is the face of the 'needy' in America, then no-one is not needy."
That is what the Democrats would have you believe. And that it is the government's job to fix it.
Michelle Malkin blogged On Monday, I did something that has everyone from King Kos on down to the dregs (a short traveling distance, to be sure) screaming “Stalker!” What did I do? I went up to Baltimore and interviewed a tenant at health-care poster parent Halsey Frost’s place of business and drove past the Frost home. That’s not “stalking.” That’s not “harassing.” It’s reporting. This is stalking. Why did I take the time to go to Baltimore? Because bloggers raised questions about the Frosts’ financial situation and made specific reference to these pieces of real estate. I did not “harass” the Frosts. I simply reported what the tenant told me and described what I saw after driving by their home. My basic reporting rebutted some impressions left by other bloggers on the right who haven’t been to these sites and assumed they were high-end luxury properties. They’re not. Moreover, I corrected the mistake that some of these bloggers made in overvaluing the house at $400,000-plus. It’s closer to $300,000. The bottom line remains: This family made choices. Choices have consequences. Taxpayers of lesser means should not be forced to subsidize them.

CQ blogged Most Republicans supported the modest expansion of S-CHIP that the White House originally proposed. No Republican officeholders have, to my knowledge, proposed eliminating S-CHIP or scaling it back in any way. The GOP has argued that the expansion of the program to 400% of the poverty line would damage private health coverage and create a subsidy for families that can afford to make the choice for health coverage already.

The Frosts, the family at the center of the storm, came to personify the issue because Democrats had them use themselves as an argument for the expansion of the program. This turns out to be rather dishonest, because the Frosts qualified for S-CHIP without the expansion, as Herszenhorn reports. Their income levels fell below the existing 200% qualifying range for S-CHIP and they have used the program -- as they would have been able to continue to do so with the White House proposal. That didn't stop the Democrats from demagoguing the debate by using the 12-year-old boy to make their political argument for them, then screaming about how heartless it was for Republicans to question the Frost's qualifications for government assistance. Like it or not, means testing is part of S-CHIP; in fact, it's the entire debate. That puts questions like assets, real income, and personal choices on the table. It's rather strange to consider someone who owns over $200,000 in home equity (not $400,000 as reported before) and commercial real estate as someone in need of government assistance. It's doubly strange when the children of the family attend private schools, even on scholarship. That calls into question whether the family has made choices to be without health coverage, or really have no resources to get it for themselves.
And what is absolutely ridiculous is that they are already eligible for SCHIP. What the bill Bush vetoed would do is not extend SCHIP coverage to the Frosts, it would extend it to people making much more than the Frosts, but who just want the government to provide free insurance for their children.

Edward Morrissey blogged Several states will spend more than 44% of their S-CHIP grants on adults in 2008, and that excludes pregnant women. In Michigan, that total goes to 71%. In most cases, the money gets spent on the parents more than the kids

Here are those states:

Illinois: 52.6% (51.2% parents)

Michigan: 71.6% (all childless adults)

Minnesota: 77.8% (all parents)

New Jersey: 54.6% (all parents)

New Mexico: 79% (26.7% parents, 52.3% childless adults)

Rhode Island: 52.4% (all parents)

Wisconsin: 43.9% (all parents)

We don’t hear much about subsidizing parents in the current debate, but it appears that a substantial portion of S-CHIP goes to that function. In fact, how can Minnesota spend more than three-quarters of S-CHIP on parents? That would mean that each child has more than three parents on the program. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, nor does it speak well of the accounting in my state for the grant monies.

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