The Dems' stealth nationalization of health care
The Democrats and their allies in the media are pushing the same storyline they did for Hillary care in the 1990s. Tom Daschle and John Podesta say that the Republican opposition will backfire politically. Early this week Mort Kondrake and David Broder wrote columns talking about what a disaster opposing the Democrat plan would be for Republicans. The conceit in all these pieces is the assumption that the Democrat plan is wise and good and that there is no merit to the Republican arguments, but the fact is they don't want to confront the arguments.
The State Children's Health Insurance Program was adopted in 1997 under Republican leadership to bring health-care benefits to children of the working poor. We worked in a bipartisan way to gain support for the program and to ensure it would have stable funding for the 10 years of its authorization. I supported SCHIP then, and I support renewing SCHIP now.
However, Democrats do not want to simply renew the program. They propose expansion of government-run health care, which will cause 2 million children to move from private insurance to government health care. This represents the first big push by the Democrats to nationalize health care.
To pay for this massive program, the Democrats have proposed a 61-cent-per-pack increase in federal tobacco taxes which, when added to Tennessee's recent 42-cent increase, will constitute more than $1 per pack. Tobacco taxes fall hardest on the working poor — the very people SCHIP is supposed to help. Not to mention it is bad policy to use a declining revenue stream to pay for a growing program. A study by the Heritage Foundation estimates funding the SCHIP expansion with tobacco taxes would require 22 million new smokers over the next 10 years.
They do not want a debate on the merits of the plan. Their argument is that opposing it will lead to defeat for Republicans. H,mmm, why would that concern Democrats? It is a good rule of thumb that whenever Democrats start acting concerned about Republicans losing elections over issues, they are not serious about anything other than trying to frighten and mad dog the Republicans into caving on a matte of principal.