Friday, September 28, 2007

Conservative SCHIP Response

I sent a link of my earlier SCHIP post to David Freddoso, who contributes to the Corner. I know nothing about him except that he opposes the SCHIP expansion and writes for the National Review. He responded:

I'd say that parents are in charge of their children, and health care is a private choice. If the govt wants to say otherwise, they can start taking children away from bad parents who make the money and won't insure them.

In fact, the parents have to enroll them anyway if they're going to be on SCHIP, it's not like the kids have any say in it anyway.
I was a bit confused by the last sentence, as I thought SCHIP was meant to be an incentive to enroll your children in a health insurance program and I responded:
No matter who is providing the insurance to the children, a private
company or the Government, the parents have to enroll them. But the
question is who pays. Why not make it cheaper for a financially
reluctant parent to get the child (who has does not have what you call
a "private choice") insurance. Obviously, if a parent is going to
take no action to protect his children, the options are limited. I
just wonder what do we say to children who, through no action on
their own part, have no insurance because of financially strapped or
skinflint parents. Sorry? It seems a pretty meager response.
Freddoso had the simplest (and most confusing) response:
I don't want to subsidize bad parenting, that's all.
I think he misuses the term "subsidize" and said:
Actually, subsidizing bad parenting would be paying people not to
insure their children. What SCHIP subsidizes is good parenting; that
is, insuring your children.
His final response was:
Government pays because they won't -- in that sense, you subsidize bad parenting.

What next? Are we going to give parents a food allowance in case they decide not to feed their kids?
Well I think we do the latter in the form of Food Stamps, WIC, and other programs. But anyway, I think Freddoso's final e-mail was a good example of Right Wing thinking about social programs. I am not suggesting the Government should pay because the parents won't; that would be classic Socialist thinking. I am suggesting the Government pay because the children need health care; that is classic social responsibility. No matter what Freddoso thinks, a responsible community ethic encapsulated in a democratically chosen social program is not the first step to the USSR.

And by the way, I looked up "subsidy." The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "Monetary assistance granted by a government to a person or group in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest." The enterprise the Government is supporting through SCHIP is health care for children - not bad parenting.

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