Saturday, October 6, 2007

More SCHIPs to ponder

Murray Sabrin

For several weeks, leftists of all stripes have been criticizing President Bush for threatening to veto an expansion of the SCHIP program. The other day President Bush did veto the bill, and the Democrat controlled Congress will try to muster two thirds majorities in each chamber to override his veto.

Both the president and the Congress agree on the premise: the federal government and state governments are responsible for the healthcare of children. All they disagree on is how fast SCHIP should expand. Democrats want to put the “pedal to the metal,” while the president wants to increase the program incrementally.

Supporters of the SCHIP have asserted that the federal-state funded program that subsidizes health insurance for youngsters who do not qualify for Medicaid is not socialism. They are right. The SCHIP program is not a takeover of the medical profession. The federal government will not takeover or “run” the medical sector of the economy.

SCHIP is an example of welfare statism, a redistribution of income form taxpayers to beneficiaries of a heavily government subsidized. In short, SCHIP is a logical outgrowth of the New Deal/Great Society paradigm, “helping” people by making them even more dependent on government, i.e. taxpayers.

To assert that SCHIP is an unqualified success is to take a very, very moral relavist position. For example, what if an individual with a “heart of gold” successfully robbed banks and redistributed the loot to families with no health insurance. The robber, in this case, a compassionate soul who sees youngster having no health insurance, decides to do something about it. Taking from the haves and giving to the have-nots is outright theft. Can this act ever be justified in our society? Do the ends ever justify immoral means?

Yet, this is the essence of the SCHIP program. The government taxes (takes) the people in order to give their money to other people. Or, the government sometimes returns the taxpayers’ money to them in the form of “rebates,” or provides them for services they may not want or need.

As my late father used to say all the time, “Remember, there is a right way and a wrong way.” SCHIP has outstanding intentions. However, it is the wrong way to address the healthcare needs of low and middle-income families. Healthcare can once again become very affordable without subsidies if we eliminate all the barriers that prevent patients and doctors from making arrangements that are in their best interests. It is called healthcare freedom.

Murray Sabrin, Ph.D., is professor of finance in the Anisfield School of Business, Ramapo College of New Jersey, where he is executive director of the Center for Business and Public Policy. He also writes for and