Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Doing Nothing is Simply Not An Option

The House voted today to renew a program of federally funded health insurance for children. These are kids in working families making too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private coverage. The new bill also expands the program to include some 4 million additional kids. This is essentially the same bill that Bush, the "compassionate conservative", vetoed last year. Twice.

The vote in the House was overwhelming in favor, but 139 Republicans still voted against it. I’d sure like to hear what one of those 139 people offered as an argument against health insurance for poor kids. No doubt it was the cost to us taxpayers. Well, that's baloney!

Parents with no family health insurance wait until the poor kids are really sick, then take them to their local hospital’s emergency room. They certainly can’t pay that bill, which is a helluva lot higher than a simple preventative office visit would have been. But somebody has to pay, so the hospitals spread the cost around in the form of inflated charges to ER patients who do have insurance. That, in turn, forces the insurance companies to increase the premiums they charge all the rest of us. Talk about a vicious circle!

The plain hard fact is that when it comes to health insurance, the most expensive option by far is to do nothing.

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