NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 28, 2007

The great national health care debate is underway right now, disguised as a routine extension of an immensely popular, noncontroversial, 10-year-old program of providing coverage to poor children, says syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

In fact, the extension proposal for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is the thin edge of the wedge to achieve the longtime goal of government-supplied universal health insurance and the suffocation of the private system, says Novak.  For instance:

  • Democrats want to triple SCHIP's current five-year cost of $25 billion to $75 billion.
  • They would grant federal largesse to an estimated 71 percent of all American children, and families of four making as much as $82,000 a year would become eligible.

Further, states would continue present coverage of adults under SCHIP:

  • Already, the federal government has consistently granted waivers to permit 14 states to cover adults under SCHIP.
  • Minnesota has led the way, with 92 percent of money spent under the program going to adults.

But where to find money to cover the massive cost?  Senators of both parties want to raise tobacco taxes, but that well is not bottomless, as existing taxes have reduced cigarette smoking, says Novak.  Instead, House Democrats want to take money from private elements of Medicare instituted by the Bush administration.  The overall effect would make three out of four American children accustomed to relying on government care no matter what course their parents take.  In sum, SCHIP turns out to be socialized medicine for "kids" (and many adults).

Source: Robert Novak, "Socialized Medicine for Kids,", June 28, 2007.


Browse more articles on Health Issues