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Sunday, July 08, 2007

S-CHIP reauthorization stalled by Sicko?

That what this item at OpenCongress seems to be suggesting:
Health care reform is abuzz, in presidential politics, in the movies, and, most immediately, in Congress.

It's perfect timing. The initial 10-year authorization of one of the government's biggest health care initiatives, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, is scheduled to run out on September 30th, and Congress has been working behind the scenes to reauthorize it.

SCHIP is designed to provide health care for children whose families make too much money to receive Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. The Senate Finance Committee, who is responsible for approving a reauthorization proposal for the whole Senate to debate, hoped to have decided on a proposal before the Independence Day recess. They didn't. Because of factors including the recent release of Michael Moore's film 'Sicko,' the issues surrounding the reauthorization bill have blown up and the discussions have come to a grinding halt.

So - by raising the profile of health care and health insurance issues, Sicko might be motivating the anti-healthcare forces (like good ole' "patriotic" CIA-agent-outing Robert Novak) to use the successful S-CHIP program as an example of "socialized medicine" that must be fought because, you know, there's that word "social" as in "socialism." Never mind that it's a highly successful program that helps children - you know, those little folk who didn't get to choose their circumstances, who could hardly "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" by living with more "personal responsibility." Children. But you know, it would be wrong to help them because that would be helping their parents who are adults and by golly that's socialism and...


Okay, yeah, in all honesty, Novak is stressing that as currently formulated and with changes being proposed in the negotiations of reauthorizing S-CHIP, some - gasp - adults are being helped directly by the program. And of course that is a big huge no-no. We can spend hundreds of billions destroying other countries, but heaven forbid we spend a few billion on helping some disadvantaged people in our own country have a better life. Nope, can't have that!

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What is the real solution, if Michael Moore’s government sponsored universal health care is not the answer?

The crux of the "SICKO" documentary is the disconnect between our expectations and the reality of health care. We are expecting compassionate care from another human being, and instead we get a faceless corporation. The person behind the desk or window is an agent of a health care corporation, which is not a human being, whose primary goal is to increase corporate profit.

This is America, and corporate profit is good, the profit motive forming the basis America’s greatness. The basic problem is that a corporation is not a human being. Therein lies the fallacy of replacing a corporation with a government agency, neither of which is a human being, when what we really want is a human being to deliver compassionate health care, and assist in serious health care decisions.

Review of "SICKO", by Jeffrey Dach MD

Jeffrey Dach MD
Jeffrey, thanks for your comment.

I think I agree with you in principle. I am concerned however that the pursuit of a much better system for the average person, will result at least temporarily in setbacks to existing programs that help people who desperately need that help, because of the kind of games described in the article I linked to.

It is a bit of a conundrum, and comes from the corporations and their servants in Congress having much more effective power than us average folks.
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