A thrilling new Bush solution: take your suffering poor kids to the mercies of the market


A reporter asked George Bush this week why he plans to veto a bill that would bring more than 3 million more poverty-mired kids under the umbrella of government-supported insurance.

The President says he is philosophically opposed to the idea. He says health care in this way would have a depressing effect on the private insurance industry, which by some of its promoters is said to be suffering horribly in the present corporate climate in America.

When you listen to the president of the United States wailing about the condition of the private insurance colossus in America, you are tempted to rush into a confessional. You need to admit you have sinned most grievously by harboring a suspicion that millions of dollars in insurance premiums are being used to employ people whose sole assignment in their cubicles is to find new ways to deny your claims.

Actually, you don’t have to confess it. It’s happening every day.

I’m trying to break the bad news from this philosophical president to the mothers of those 3 million kids who are going to be deprived of health insurance if Bush vetoes a proposed bill that has bipartisan support in the Congress. That includes Republican senators who are literally begging him publicly to listen to reason. In Hoyle’s book of chance, that option is DOA.

This is a president, mothers, who said he was philosophically opposed to finding a better way to deal with Iraq than achieving what we have so far: civil war, thousands of new Al Quaida recruits, the death of a nearly a million Iraqis and 3,600 uniformed Americans plus 25,000 Americans and a couple hundred thousand more Iraqis maimed.

He’s sorry about all of those mutilated people, mothers, but when you are guided by higher philosophical principles, you just have to tell the people of America there are some things they need to accept on trust: More bodies, a certain level of hard core poverty and privation, and a healthy private insurance industry. You should know, mothers, that’s where it all begins: a healthy insurance industry that can pump tens of millions of dollars of contributions into the campaigns of philosophical presidents and enablers.

The moment you get the government into the insurance business, you see bad things beginning to happen: people live longer and more comfortably; older people find ways to enjoy life, which used to be reserved for hard-working millionaires and their descendants.

So you have to understand, mothers—philosophical presidents talk that way—you have to understand that you put democracy in jeopardy when you sign legislation that would bring public health insurance to 3 million more kids.

The place where they ought to be getting that insurance, your philosophical presidents will tell you, is through private insurance companies who are wise to all of the tricks people use applying for coverage they don’t need, especially mothers of poor kids.

Now if you can’t accept all of that, mothers, the solution is simple: figure out a way to move up into the highest income brackets, where you automatically qualify for tax breaks that will reward your new status. The message is that eventually you’re going to find this is a whole lot better than bread or a socialized tonsillectomy.

It IS too bad if the kid who can’t get health insurance is yours. But that is the tradeoff for living in a healthy, fair-minded democracy like the new model invented and supervised by the philosophical president.

You ARE entitled to know one of the reasons philosophical presidents are opposed to this irresponsible sideshow of letting 3 million more poor kids into the safety net. The advocates want to pay for the extra funding in part by raising the excise tax on cigarettes. The president says he opposes that idea philosophically. He says he is also opposed to the Food and Drug Administration regulating the marketing and sale of tobacco products.

“We’ve always said that nicotine is not a drug to be regulated under FDA,” he said.

Not a drug. No addiction in sight. Practically no effect on the country’s health bill.

Mothers, if you can’t get any insurance for your kids, teach them to be philosophical. It may not make them smart but it may eventually get them into the White House.