SCHIP

Makes the front page of the NYTimes today in a silly story rounding up what was going on when and how the thing failed, and yet without any actual description of the bill itself. The “feel” of the story is that poor President Bush got bad advice from staff members. Yeah, right. Don’t believe it.
Heading Right outs the NYTimes.

The S-CHIP proposal had serious flaws, and neither version of the bill addressed them. It added middle-class children to a program designed to subsidize health insurance for the poor, and it used cigarette taxes — a very regressive tax — to fund the difference. In order for the numbers to work out, the plan presumed a growth of cigarette smokers of around 22 million to fund the program for all ten years, despite a decline in smoking over the last few years, pushed by government anti-smoking campaigns. It was a fiscally irresponsible plan, and the White House had a more modest approach that would have expanded coverage to more poor children through tax incentives that Congress completely ignored.

The real story is the policy, not the personalities. That’s why this S-CHIP expansion lost.

It also failed because the Dems want a campaign issue that makes them look generous instead of whiney.

ps for fun the NYTimes also has an article on three health care numbers passed around like biblical quotes and adds some clarification to them.

STATEMENT 1 The United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than Canada, which has national health insurance.

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STATEMENT 2 Some 47 million Americans do not have health insurance.

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STATEMENT 3 Health costs are eating up an ever increasing share of American incomes.