RUSH: A little bit more research has been done into this health care bill for the itty-bitty children that’s going to raise cigarette taxes and cigar taxes from five cents to $10 a cigar. Sit down, folks. This program is called SCHIP, S-c-h-i-p. It stands for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. It was created in 1997 by Congress and President Clinton. This year it’s up for reauthorization, it was why all this is going on. Like every other liberal program, the original purpose has gone by the wayside now, and the unintended consequences have set in. Plus, it’s a brand-new entitlement, so we can play with it, we can grow it.
‘SCHIP was intended to cover children in families who made too much to be eligible for Medicaid. The law was originally supposed to limit eligibility to families making not more than 200% of the poverty line ($40,300 for a family of four), but seven states set eligibility above 200% anyway. Furthermore, fourteen states have applied loose enough definitions of ‘child’ to extend coverage to parents, pregnant women, or childless adults.’ I am not kidding. Wait ’til you hear this. ‘Democrats in Congress are trying to capture the spirit of those states. Bills sponsored by Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) and Rep. John Dingell (MI) would permit states to expand SCHIP up to 400 percent of the poverty level. For a family of four, that means $82,600 a year,’ they would qualify for health insurance for their children. ‘Thus, children in families that are in the top 25 percent of income-earners would be eligible for government-funded health insurance.’
As the authors of this piece, David Hogberg & Paul Gessing, write, ‘We’ll bet you didn’t know that poverty reached so far up the income ladder, did you?’ However, here is the pièce de résistance. ‘That same legislation would expand the definition of a ‘child’ even further.’ By the way, this is from the American Spectator today, their website. ‘Under the Clinton-Dingell legislation, states could offer Medicaid coverage for families who have ‘children’ up to age 25.’ Did you hear me on that, ladies and gentlemen? ‘According to the Democrats’ vision, those who are old enough to drive, vote, enter the military and drink alcohol are still in swaddling clothes when it comes to health insurance.’
Now, how to interpret all this. Well, this is quite simple. This explains how the renewal and proposed expansion of the state children’s insurance program moves the country a huge step closer to a universal government-run health insurance. Defining children to include individuals up to age 25 and covering those children up to 400% of the poverty level? Hello, universal insurance. This is just as sneaky as that OSHA regulation that they tried to sneak in there that would ban ammo from being sold in gun shops because it’s an explosive. And then, in addition to that, this is where they’ve tacked on the additional cigarette and cigar taxes. So children are children at 25. That would mean, let’s say you’ve got a man, a husband, 25, his wife 24, they got married relatively young, got two kids, all four of them would be kids! All four would be children, under this law. As proposed by Hillary Clinton and John Dingell. Gotta stop this, too.
RUSH: On this health insurance bill for the itty-bitty children all the way up to age of twenty-five? The president says he’s going to veto it. He says, ‘Expanding the program would enlarge the role of the federal government at the expense of private insurance.’ The president’s idea is $5 billion in increased funding. He threatened to veto the Senate compromise and a more costly expansion being planned in the House. ‘My concern is when you expand eligibility, you’re really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government.’ Yep, he’s exactly right. That’s the whole point. It’s a sneak attack. It is an attempt to go a long way towards universal health coverage. But guess what happens there, folks? You know, we conservatives here love and celebrate and promote entrepreneurship, creativity, rugged individualism, innovation, these kinds of things. One of the problems in the health care business today is there aren’t any entrepreneurs. There’s a story or column in the Wall Street Journal today, OpinionJournal.com, on the website, because it’s already so regulated, and it is already so tied up, and it’s already — Medicaid, Medicare, and all these other aspects of it — that there’s just simply no room left for innovation.
Without innovation, it doesn’t get better, and we know that government does not improve things. If government did, they’d be running the oil companies, and we’d be happy about it. But government doesn’t do anything right. Imagine if when Fred Smith turned in his doctoral thesis, wherever it was, proposing his idea of Federal Express — by the way, he got a C on it — the government said, ‘You can’t compete with the post office. We got a monopoly there. You can’t do that!’ Suppose they said the same thing to UPS. We would be dependent on the policy service. Nothing against you policy workers, but when you have a government agency or anything like that where there’s no connection between price and service — in other words they don’t care what it costs you, and they don’t care what service they deliver because there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t go anywhere else. So you have to take their five-hour coffee breaks. You have to take the windows being open two hours a day. So you have to take going to a doctor wherever the government tells them to go. What doctor is going to want to go into the business with those kind of restrictions? So the problem with socialized anything or universal anything, is it means that government’s running it.
I don’t know how many of you entrepreneurs out there would hire too many bureaucrats to put ’em in charge of responsible projects at your businesses, just based on your experience interacting with them. It’s not really the fault of the individuals. It’s just what happens with bureaucracies. They are by definition inefficient. Generally the government bureaucracy is the only place you can go to deal with your problem, if they have control of it, and they don’t care what it costs you, because it doesn’t matter. You have no nowhere else to go. It doesn’t matter what kind of service they give you, doesn’t matter because you have nowhere else to go. If you make that the circumstance in health care, it’s going to be the biggest regret you’ve ever had. That leads us here to this figure, of 40 million. It changes all the time, 42 million, nine million children. Who knows this? I never hear the number challenged. It was 40 million during the Clinton years. It’s 42 million now. It’s nine million uninsured. How do we know this? It isn’t really relevant. How many uninsured choose not to because they’re young and they want to spend their money on other things, and they know there’s always the emergency room where you have to get treated?
It’s the law. You may die in there waiting to get treated, but they have to eventually get to you, whether you’re a corpse or whether you’re still alive. You will destroy the whole concept of innovation, and there will be no room for it. Well, I take that back. What will happen, if the government doesn’t stop it first, is what has happened in the UK. The wealthy will say, ‘The hell with this. I am not standing in line for six months for a transplant here or a simple knee replacement or whatever.’ So, they get their own doctors and open their own clinics, and they’ll be charging market prices in there, and people will go flock to them, the people that can afford it. Then the same argument is going to happen again.
‘It’s not fair. It’s not fair! The poor and these 25-year-old kids, why, they can’t afford go there. It’s not fair! It’s not fair!’
Well, wait a minute. You said that your government run health care is going to be the best we could do. It ought to be the case that the people going to their own private clinics are getting worse medical care than what you people in government are providing because you said that’s the best way to go. There’s a story in the stack here. I have been wrong about the figure that I have been using, transfer payments on the war on poverty since 1964, the Great Society war on poverty. It’s at eleven trillion now! That’s $11,000,000,000,000.00 that has been transferred through the redistribution of wealth to try to wipe out poverty — and of course what is the #1 presidential theme in the Democrat Party? Poverty! Well, it is with Barack and it is with Edwards, and free abortions, of course, that’s #2. We’ve had 10 trillion. We haven’t solved it. I guarantee you whatever they end up with on this new SCHIP deal, is not going to solve it. They’re going to be spending even more money than the cigar tax, gonna be 50 bucks. Well, they won’t be able to do that; there won’t be any cigars. But you destroy the innovation and creativity, you’re destroying solutions to problems, and there won’t be any room for it. There’s very little room for it now.