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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Thanksgiving Madman

November 26, 2007


"Over Half the Families in America Are Not Poor"

According to the White House, Only about half of us are poor. This is how the Bush administration justifies The President's veto(9and promises of more vetoes) of the SCHIP bill whose main concern is to make sure children get a shot at seeing a doctor when they are sick.

From an area of the White House website called "White House News", White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto "explained" just why SCHIP is a bad idea and why the Big Bad Democrats are, in fact, both "Big" and "Bad".

"The President vetoed Congress' SCHIP bill because they were asking for a policy that was bad, not because they were asking for too much money."

I agree that the President did not actually veto the SCHIP bill as proposed by an almost veto-proof combination of Democrats and Republicans in the House and an actual Veto-proof majority in the Senate because of cost. In fact, had the SCHIP bill been proposed so that the bill took the money from our middle class taxes and put it directly into a pot of money so that the Health Insurance companies would supply health care (as they define it, of course) to America's children, you could bet your bottom dollar that the few billion dollars authorized by Congress would have grown to billions and billions more. Judging by what was spent by the Bush administration towards bailing out the insurance companies in the wake of the Florida hurricanes of a few years ago; and seeing the continued spending on the Iraq war and those contractor-contributors to the Bush administration, one has to ask just what a program that included the health care industries contributors to the Bushies and GOP would have cost in the end.

I'm surprised no one in the administration even thought of it.

The President has said poor children should come first. Over half the families in America are not poor."

What about the other half, Mr. Fratto? And what about all of the poor and the slightly-less poor uninsured children of America? The Bushies have been telling anyone who would listen that there are children whose parents can certainly afford health care but choose not to purchase it. In fact, that is just wrong. Many of us who have jobs which don't offer health care and many more of us who are self-employed simply cannot afford the choice between food and medicine or housing and medicine or any of the other necessities of life versus the cost of medicine or the fee for seeing a doctor. And the Bushies have put out these bullet-points - on the White House web site which you and I pay for - to make their point:

The White House says:
Congress' SCHIP bill would strongly encourage States to provide government health coverage for children in families making 300% of the Federal poverty level.
300% of the Federal poverty level is nearly $62,000 per year for a family of four.
The median household income for all households with children under 18 is $58,865.

And Madman responds:
Just what will $62,000 per year buy a family of four in today's market. After you pay your federal, state and local income, and social security withholding taxes, that $62,000 magically becomes somewhere around $40,000. From that $40,000, this family of four is going to pay at least $1,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere within a one-hour's drive to their place of business. Subtract another $400 per moth in travel charges (a minimum cost in a two-income household); $1,000 per month for groceries; and an additional $200 per month for other various necessary utilities, and George W. Bush's family of four's income "extra income" rests at about the $10,000 per year mark. From that "windfall", this "nukular family" (as President Bush might call them) can pay for school books, cable television, a personal computer with an internet connection (so little Johnny and little Janie can keep up); clothes (yes, even thought they're coming from China, they still cost money): and a whole slew of unexpected expenditures that those in the White House haven't paid for since they opened up their US middle class paid expense accounts.
In case you were wondering, health insurance costs have risen nearly three times what they were since George W. Bush took office nearly seven years ago. By the year 2016, one out of every five US GDP dollars will go towards health care costs. Today, the average health insurance policy runs about $1,000 per month, so even if GW's three-times-poverty level family were to avoid all "extra costs", such as clothing, shoes, braces, etc, that $10,000 wouldn't even cover the cost of this average policy. And after you add on other out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, co-pays and my personal favorite, the "usual and customary" (where your health insurance company pays $2,000 for a $10,000 procedure and your doctor expects you to pay the rest), you're in the hole for thousands, if not tens-of thousands of dollars each and every year.

The Bush administration wants you to believe that those without health care are, somehow, undeserving. They need you to believe that children of parents who cannot afford health care insurance are somehow inferior and lazy underachievers who don't deserve to have their children see a doctor when they or their child is sick. And when confronted with the facts, they'll even take the complete opposite end of the argument and tell us that no one is ever turned away when they go to an emergency room for care. But the truth is, often (and growing more often than not) when one finally ends up in a hospital emergency room, it's too late. And the truth is that treating the un- and underinsured in this manner costs more than a universal health insurance program would cost in both the short and the long run.

And they know it!

Somehow, the Bush administration has made many in their base (let's call them the Health Care "base" of "haves and have mores") actually believe that health care for all is a bad idea. And they'll keep on repeating that which the Bushies repeat over and over and over again until they become a part of those near-100 million Americans without health care insurance or with way too little.

Get another job you three income families barely making ends meet. Buy another care to get to work. There are 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week - why aren't you working every single one of them? And, by the way, don't forget family values.

These hypocrites do get it - they get it all too well - and they know how to exploit it... for profit.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg