Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Here are two excellent posts regarding the real policy issues surrounding SCHIP and the left's faux outage over conservative criticism of the Frost family and the Democrats using them as political human shields. Hat tip to my Red Maryland colleague Matt Johnston.

As I noted earlier, the real reason why people like Isaac Smith"can't refrain from cursing" about this, is because he knows that this once again exposes the left's lack of intellectual and policy heft, and that all they can do is engage in ad-hominem attacks.

Rick Moran slices through lefty "outrage" and shows how they distract from the real policy and philosophical issue about SCHIP expansion:

The struggle here is not over little Graeme Frost who no one has criticized or smeared. The ideological battle over “need” and “want” is what is at issue. Of course the middle class wants SCHIP. Why not? It’s free, isn’t it? But no one is asking if there is a better way to insure those who don’t make a million dollars a year. No one is asking if this expansion of federal largess at the expense of other taxpayers is a good thing or not – certainly no one has queried those taxpayers who are going to foot the bill for families like the Frosts whose situation, while complicated, is not desperate or hopeless where no one would begrudge them the benefit.
But if the left can’t see this fundamental issue as one of taxpayer fairness I don’t hold out much hope for entitlement reform and indeed, see a wild expansion of government programs in the future that would benefit families who aren’t needy but simply don’t want to make the sacrifices other families willingly make in order to get insurance, or send their kids to college, or go on a European vacation for that matter – something I have no doubt the left would use government to subsidize if they thought they could get away with it.

The whole problem with SCHIP and other entitlements is that we have confused “need” and “want” to the point that there is no longer any difference between the two. It is the difference between freedom and capitalism and dependence and socialism...

But I’m not going to sit here and be accused of “smearing” a family when the Democrats believe it is perfectly legitimate political discourse to use the Frosts as a poster family for what is good about SCHIP while not allowing me to use them in the exact same political context to show what is wrong with the program.

Captain Ed puts the lie to left's strawman:

Most Republicans supported the modest expansion of S-CHIP that the White House originally proposed. No Republican officeholders have, to my knowledge, proposed eliminating S-CHIP or scaling it back in any way. The GOP has argued that the expansion of the program to 400% of the poverty line would damage private health coverage and create a subsidy for families that can afford to make the choice for health coverage already.

The Frosts, the family at the center of the storm, came to personify the issue because Democrats had them use themselves as an argument for the expansion of the program. This turns out to be rather dishonest, because the Frosts qualified for S-CHIP without the expansion, as Herszenhorn reports. Their income levels fell below the existing 200% qualifying range for S-CHIP and they have used the program -- as they would have been able to continue to do so with the White House proposal.

That didn't stop the Democrats from demagoguing the debate by using the 12-year-old boy to make their political argument for them, then screaming about how heartless it was for Republicans to question the Frost's qualifications for government assistance. Like it or not, means testing is part of S-CHIP; in fact, it's the entire debate. That puts questions like assets, real income, and personal choices on the table. It's rather strange to consider someone who owns over $200,000 in home equity (not $400,000 as reported before) and commercial real estate as someone in need of government assistance. It's doubly strange when the children of the family attend private schools, even on scholarship. That calls into question whether the family has made choices to be without health coverage, or really have no resources to get it for themselves.

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