Friday, October 19, 2007

More on SCHIP

A lot of conservatives have been whining and moaning that the government shouldn't be helping people like the Frost family purchase insurance. The Frosts should do whatever it takes to get insurance for their own kids. "Get a job that has insurance as a benefit, or keep scrimping until you find enough money in the budget to buy insurance!"

Is there a problem with this logic? Well, it depends. You see, the same argument can be made about schools, and education in general. We don't require parents (or college students) to be totally impoverished before helping with the costs of higher education, and education is free through high school. An educated populace, one that gets some help acquiring an education so they don't have to make hard choices like "should I mortgage my house to get schooling for my kids?", is a benefit to all of society. Why isn't a healthy populace considered a similar benefit?

Well, because there aren't powerful business interests demanding that we avoid "socialized education" at all costs.

The great hypocrisy of Republicans who oppose SCHIP (please note: not all Republicans oppose it!) is seen by looking at what the Republicans have been pushing for, educationwise: Vouchers.

When the Frosts get some help paying for insurance, without being dirt poor, they're lambasted for not making huge sacrifices to obtain or pay for insurance. But when it comes to education, the Republicans would very much like for the government to just give out money, without any means testing, to help people pay for private schooling. Why the disconnect?

Well, some of the people who complain about helping folks pay for health insurance would like to shut down the public schools, and don't support vouchers. This is foolish, short-sighted, and mean-spirited, but it's consistent.

The voucher-friendly, however, don't have this as an escape. They either haven't thought their position through (entirely possible; you don't have to do mucht thinking when you parrot talking points all day) or are afraid of what a Democrat win might mean for them. Their fear is that if the Democrats make real, substantial progress on health care, in the face of strong Republican opposition, they'll take it on the chin next election when their bosses - we, the people - realize how hard they've fought against common sense assistance.

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