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About SCHIP and the VETO

by Mac McMullen / October 23, 2007 6:19 AM PDT

Why the simple facts of why the SCHIP Bill was vetoed are not more clearly explained, totally escapes me.

As I understand it, the bill was initially designed to fund health care for children whose parents earned less than twice the amount of the current poverty level.

Something like this: 2007 HHS Poverty Guidelines

Number of Persons 48 Contiguous States Alaska Hawaii

1 $ 10,210 $ 12,770 $ 11,750

2 13,690 17,120 15,750

3 17,170 21,470 19,750

4 18,850 23,570 25,340

5 24,130 30,170 27,750

6 27,610 34,520 31,750

7 31,090 38,870 35,750

8 34,570 43,220 39,750

For each additional person, add 3,480 4,350 4,000

(Source: Federal Register, Vol 72, No 15, January 24, 2007, pp 3147 - 3148)

The President, and supporting members of Congress, favored that level of funding for the health care of little children.

Then the bill was larded up by about $35 billion to provide the same coverage to children of wealthier families with annual incomes of about $80,000.

It is no secret that socialized medicine in the USofA is not a lost cause for some in Congress. IMO, socialized medicine represents a ?free? service. If anything is free, the demand naturally rises. An ability to provide ?service? is relatively fixed, and aside from deplorable inefficiencies of any Government provided service, the net effect is that the level of care has to go down.

I have read reports of the ?socialized? medical care in Britain, where general medical practitioners see 70 or more patients daily. The service is free, consequently a child with the sniffles is taken to the doctor. The doctor makes the briefest of examinations and dispenses a few pills. Most of these children would probably get over the sniffles without the doctor?s efforts. But among the many children seen that day, are probably the one or two whose sniffles are the first symptoms of a more serious condition, and probably needs serious treatment. The overworked doctor misses those symptoms that a more thorough examination would disclose, if he/she just had the time to do it.

A family with an actual income of $25,000 certainly needs help with respect to the health of their children. But $80,000 ?

Let?s watch campaign propaganda that uses ?children? is a slogan, and puts the health of poor children at risk while playing political games during an election year.

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It's not so much for the wealthy
by Angeline Booher / October 23, 2007 8:26 AM PDT

The bill could have been read at www.thomas.gov .

The income level was limited to those making under $61000 for a family of four, the coverage was limited to people who could PROVE citizenship, and those UNDER 19 years of age.

YES, there were sections in the bill that allow states to APPLY to have people above this range qualify, IF the state has an unusually high cost of living, BUT the state forfeits money from future allotments if they do.

$61000 a year goes a lot farther in this area than it does in New Jersery or Hawaii, and even those states have only applied for up to $72000 a year exemptions.

Sure, that sounds like a lot of money to me. I could live high on the hog for that. Happy

The President in his State of the Union address said that he wanted to provide coverage for children. So perhaps there will be changed made to the point that a consensus could be reached.

As it stands now, IMO, people who are insured are already paying for those who are not.

Speakeasy Moderator

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You're right Angeline: It's not about the wealthy,...
by Paul C / October 23, 2007 7:56 PM PDT

...it's about the pork (as usual):

However, there are other opinions about the cuts to Medicare in order to fund the SCHIP expansion, the hidden pork that favors some hospitals over others, and the language and focus change from covering prenatal care to covering a wide range of "reproductive health services" for women who are pregnant, rather than covering prenatal care and delivery of their unborn children.

"Don't pit children against seniors" Washington Post Letter to the Editor describes the effects of cutting Medicare programs in order to increase funds for SCHIP.

"Select Hospitals Reap a Windfall Under Child Bill," a New York Times piece on the custom of building in increased reimbursement for certain hospitals, without actually naming those hospitals or noting which legislator put the perk in the Bill:

The two hospitals in Kingston, N.Y., that are beneficiaries of the bill, Benedictine Hospital and the nearby Kingston Hospital, recently announced an agreement that would bring them together under a single parent corporation.

Neither hospital is named in the bill, but they are the only ones that could qualify. The bill guarantees higher Medicare payments for New York hospitals with a ?single unified governance structure,? located less than three-fourths of a mile apart in a city with a population of 20,000 to 30,000.

Lawmakers did not identify St. Vincent by name, but referred to a hospital with Medicare provider number 360112. That is the identification number for St. Vincent.

There's also the change in language from care for unborn children to pregnant women - which leads to fears that abortion services will be required, and changes the focus from "Child" toward universal government health care.

Alas, the only difference between governance by the left wing of our new one party Republicrat establishment is that it tries to hide its use of porkmarks; the right wing, at least, is honest about its willingness to vote itself and its cronies monies from the public purse. And we, the people are also to blame for allowing - and encouraging - this scandalous looting of the Treasury to continue.

I have two beautiful grandsons and a third grandchild (hopefully a girl) on the way, and I dread what they will think when they are adults and realize that we have left them a bankrupt government and a hopelessly corrupt society - and that they cannot possibly ever undo the damage that we've done...

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Yeah, I heard on the radio
by dirtyrich / October 23, 2007 8:44 PM PDT

that the reimbursement rate was supposed to be set by local cost of living, but that many hospitals, specifically in representatives' home districts, were set to be reimbursed at a rate much higher than the local cost of living.

Can anyone smell some bacon and ham? mmm...tasty

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I didn't know about the Medicare reimbursements
by duckman / October 23, 2007 11:13 PM PDT

But the larger picture is do people think that they should pay for another persons medical insurance because of the irresponsible choices that the others have made? Plenty of people may be working jobs that aren't their dream job, but they make the adult decision to do so to have medical benefits for their FAMILY.

Bottom line politically is that the Democrat party tried to sneak this by under the well worn mantra of "for the children". If they want to try to make a program for irresponsible adults who can pay for their own insurance but choose NOT to, they should come up with that program and sell it on its own merits.

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How about naming the people who
by gearup / October 24, 2007 2:44 AM PDT

put the pork into the bill and their parties? Be nice to know who they are cause I bet that they are not all from the same party,or for that matter from the same state!

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Stay on-topic.....
by Mac McMullen / October 24, 2007 3:21 AM PDT

The topic was the bill and why the veto.

Political agendas not allowed on this board. Let's keep it that way.

There is blame on both sides of isle on this political game fiasco.

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This thread is political
by duckman / October 24, 2007 4:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Stay on-topic.....

whether you intended it to be or not. I think I agree with you that it doesn't matter which congressmen are benefiting from this as it stinks both ways.

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I am on topic
by gearup / October 24, 2007 9:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Stay on-topic.....

and your reaction leads me to believe that YOU wont like the answers
because you are echoing the official line of one of the partys involved!

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First, this is political...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / October 24, 2007 1:19 PM PDT

Second, that's the official (and incorrect) line. The bill would still do what it always said it would, except that the "poverty line" to be used in the version Bush chose to veto was not a one-size-fits-all Federal average, but geographically adjusted. The "up to $83,000 and some-odd" figure that was used as an excuse for the veto was that in New York City -- where it's still roughly twice the poverty line.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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States already have WIDE
by duckman / October 24, 2007 10:53 PM PDT

latitude in administrating the program

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Against my better judgement............
by Mac McMullen / October 25, 2007 1:47 AM PDT

....as I usually drop out of a thread after the first five or six comments because everything that should be said has been said by then.

OK, so ?everything? today is political. Politics can probably be discussed here if members would refrain from ?bashing? and bringing forth personal animosities.

Let?s get back to SCHIP, and leave personalities out of it.

"The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, enacted Title XXI of the Social Security Act and allocated about $20 billion over ten years to help states insure more children. The law authorizes states to provide health care coverage to "targeted low-income children" who are not eligible for Medicaid and who are uninsured. States receive an enhanced federal match (greater than the state's Medicaid match) and have three years to expend each year's allotment.

SCHIP continues to receive considerable attention as Congress passed compromise legislation to reauthorize the SCHIP program, which expired on September 30, 2007. The President vetoed the compromise bill on Oct. 3.

There is plan to bring a slightly revised version of HR 976, the recently vetoed SCHIP reauthorization bill, to the House floor on Thursday, Oct. 25. So far no language has been made available. According to reports, the revised bill will: (1) set the top income limit to 300% of the federal poverty level; (2) will clarify and emphasize that illegal immigrants are not eligibility for coverage; and (3) phase-out adult coverage, except for pregnant women, in one year instead of two. No word on whether this will garner the additional votes needed to reach a veto-proof majority." (Source: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/chiphome.htm )

It seems to me that the ?added? $35 billion number being bandied about is nothing more than pure speculation by politicians.

The New York ?bit? again is pure smoke screening. The ?S? in SCHIP stands for ?State?. As with most federal funding, States determine how funds are allocated. While the old SCHIP legislation called for a threshold at 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), States can set a higher rate. Individual states can redefine their income levels thereby increasing their FPL levels. New York already had the capability to include families in higher income brackets into the SCHIP program.

IMO, it is past due the time that ?Congress? put political party agendas aside and address the needs of the Country.

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(NT) I can't believe people went for this bait!
by Dan McC / October 24, 2007 10:42 PM PDT
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Hardly bait, Dan
by Angeline Booher / October 25, 2007 1:05 AM PDT

It was intended to discuss the pros and cons of the bill, how we would look at the increase in benefits re: cost of living in certain places. The opinions yea and nay on the Hill were close, which showed that both sides of the aisle had strong support.

If nothing else, we might gain a better understanding of the bill, and thus make informed decisions as to its worth, yea or nay.

Speakeasy Moderator

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Maybe he meant....
by EdH / October 25, 2007 4:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Hardly bait, Dan

his own post. And you went for it!

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I think what it is called is
by duckman / October 25, 2007 4:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Maybe he meant....


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by Dan McC / October 25, 2007 5:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Hardly bait, Dan

But if that were the case Mac would have replied to the several posts on a more prompt basis rather than wait several days to make a single reply. You also presuppose that Mac did not already know that his argument re the $80,000 limit was not as spurious as you pointed out.

His purpose was to raise the point that ended his post using the cover of the rest of his post to keep it from being deleted as the purely political comment that it was.


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That is not his style.
by Angeline Booher / October 25, 2007 8:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Perhaps

And like others here, myself included, he doesn't sit by his computer watching for replies.

He's been a member for many years, and it is not his habit to try to start flames.

He happens to agree with it's defeat. That does not mean that he might not agree with a re-written one. He tales 'em one by one.

Speakeasy Moderator

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