Scaring us SCHIPless

Health care is a luxury and it should be earned, not handed out. By giving away free health care to children we are teaching them to expect free handouts later in life.

For decades, liberals have fabricated one crisis after another in an effort to scare Americans and thereby delude us into supporting wasteful spending. Indeed, the left seems to have no shortage of manufactured “impending disasters.” “Global warming,” “our failing schools” and “our crumbling infrastructure” are just some of the ridiculous lies propagated by Democrats to pilfer money from our paychecks for their personal amusement. Their latest offense? The controversy surrounding President George W. Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, a little fair and balanced background: the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, is a $40 billion handout from the federal government to “poor” families that affords around 6 million children access to health care. The program is set to expire at the end of this year and Democrats are not content with simply renewing it. Unsurprisingly, they wish to expand it to include 4 million more children – at an added cost of $35 billion over the next five years. And who stands to benefit? Rich people. Under the Democrats’ plan, a family of four making as much as $62,000 – three times the povery rate – would be eligible. Despite the ludicrousness of providing free health care for children of families that live in mansions, drive BMWs and eat caviar at their country clubs, Democrats have somehow wrangled bipartisan support and the bill has passed both the Senate and the House by large, but not veto-proof, majorities. Owing only to the courage and leadership of our president, who recently vetoed the bill, do we have a chance to stem this newest form of liberal fiscal irresponsibility. Democrats, meanwhile, have begun their customary hysterics and hand wringing, claiming that failure to expand SCHIP will put millions of children in danger.

The problems with the SCHIP bill as it stands are numerous. At the core of the issue lies a simple but critical question: Do children really need health care? In truth, the only “health care” that most children require is a Band-Aid after a little scrape, a cough drop during the flu season or a good fist to the mouth when sad and depressed. To this, a liberal would no doubt respond (in a whiny voice), “but what about kids with cancer and other serious ailments?” Well, I and others of keen mind are intelligent enough not to believe in this so-called “cancer” in the first place, as it is simply another invention of the fear-mongering left wing, much like “evolution,” “global warming,” and “hurricanes.”

But say, for the sake of argument, that a child actually needs access to professional health care. Why should the government be obligated to indulge this extravagance? What ever happened to personal responsibility? If a child needs health care, shouldn’t he have to work for it himself? I, for example, took my first job at the ripe young age of a fetus, working long arduous hours as a falafel repairman just so I could receive minimal prenatal care. When I was three I was promoted to manager and qualified for full health coverage. To be sure, I pulled myself up by my little bootie straps and earned my health care – that is the American way, after all. By giving away free health care to children, aren’t we just teaching them to expect more handouts in the future?

The latter question goes to the heart of the larger liberal agenda, of which SCHIP is only a minor part. Since this country’s founding, left wing elements of society have pushed for all kinds of government handouts to socialize every facet of American life. Thus far, they have been overtly successful: The Department of Education hands out money so children can go to school, resulting in socialized education. The government likewise pays for police and fire departments, constituting veritable socialized emergency services. Even our armed forces are paid for by the government, giving us a socialized military. And now liberals want to give free health care to children – the first stop on the path to socialized medicine. Rather than heading toward socialism, the government should let the free market decide how these services are delivered. Private schools, private security and emergency firms, private militias and private health care are the elements of a truly free and egalitarian society.

Liberals are often fond of saying that health care is a universal human right. Health care is not a right but rather a luxury, and whether it is for the youngest or eldest of our society, it should be earned, not handed out. Moreover, there is nothing scary about some little brat losing health care he probably doesn’t need anyway. The additional $35 billion of our tax dollars that Democrats want to give away via SCHIP could be much better spent elsewhere.

Hemant Joshi is a University graduate student. Please send comments to [email protected].