I recently heard about a young mother who received an unexpected call from a collection agency for a bill for a medical test that was performed on her infant son two years ago.
Certainly, it's a hassle for this busy working mother to go through her records to try to prove that she never received the original bill. But I'm betting this mother is thankful that she lives in a country where she can still choose her children's doctor...where her children can receive prompt medical care...and where she can rest easy at night knowing that competent care from her pediatrician, ob/gyn, and family doctor is only a phone call away.
The issue of children's medical care is now centerstage in our national political debate, due to the controversy over the State Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP. President Bush has pledged to veto a compromise bill that would expand the program, calling the plan a move toward "government-run health care for every American."
The draft compromise legislation would mean some 35 billion additional dollars would be pumped into the program over five years. As a result, total spending on SCHIP would be a whopping $60 billion. As you might expect, the growth in spending would be paid for through a tax increase — in this case, an increase in the tobacco tax.
The President further stated, "I believe this is a step toward federalization of health care," noting that the Congressional plan "is beyond the scope of the program, and that's why I'm going to veto the bill."
Keep in mind President Bush is what's known as a compassionate conservative. In other words, he's not against government programs. In fact, he's not even against expanding SCHIP - - he himself is asking for $5 billion more for the program. He's made it clear that he wants poor children to have health insurance - - he just doesn't want to bankrupt families while doing it.
The Democrats approved this pork barrel plan knowing that the President would veto it. As the President has stated, "Members of Congress are putting health coverage for poor children at risk so they score political points in Washington."
As evidence of that, consider this statement, issued by the Democratic caucus in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives:
"President Bush is about to punish thousands of Pennsylvania children whose ‘crime' is that their working parents cannot afford expensive private health insurance. He is threatening to veto legislation that would reauthorize and improve federal support for state children's health insurance programs because, he says, it's too expensive.
"Yes, President Bush, caring for kids costs money. That doesn't mean we shouldn't invest in them. The low- and middle-income working parents who are struggling to meet their kids' basic necessities are what Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program is all about."
What low- and middle-income working parents really need is for our public officials in Washington to hold the reins on runaway government spending. They need their tax bills reduced so that they can stretch their hard-earned dollars to pay for necessities - - including health care for their children.
The last thing they need is for Uncle Sam to determine the course of their children's health care. Yet, that's exactly what the Democratic leaders in Congress are pushing for. Call it what you will - - I call it universal health care - - another name for old-fashioned socialism.
Nathan Tabor is a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina, where he owns a successful small business and was recently a candidate for Congress. He has his Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Robertson School of Government at Regent University. Contact him at Nathan@nathantabor.com.