Monday, October 08, 2007

John Shimkus is Against Children

Senator Richard Durbin tried & failed to find Congressman John Shimkus (IL-19) to encourage him to change his vote over the weekend. While other members of the Illinois congressional delegation have had a great many statements regarding HR 976, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, there has been nothing but deafening silence from the IL-19 offices. The latest press releases are filled with the usual photo ops with his near and dear. Nothing more.

Avoiding a high ranking senator is the act of a partisan hack. For IL-19, this is nothing new from John Shimkus. Here are the facts if anyone chooses to
call the Shimkus offices or leave a comment on SJR. From the Gwinnett County, GA, Democratic Party :

  1. Nothing in either the House or Senate bill would force coverage for families earning $83,000 a year. That is already possible under current law, but no state sets its cut-off that high for a family of four and the bill contains no requirement for any such increase. Poor children, defined as those in families below the official federal poverty level, were already covered by Medicaid.
  2. The stated intent of Congress when it established the program in 1997 was to expand coverage beyond those who were poor to uninsured low-income children.
  3. MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber states, I have undertaken a number of analyses to compare the public sector costs of public sector expansions such as SCHIP to alternatives such as tax credits. I find that the public sector provides much more insurance coverage at a much lower cost under SCHIP than these alternatives. Tax subsidies mostly operate to buy out the base of insured without providing much new coverage.
  4. SCHIP funding would come from an increase of the federal tobacco excise tax on all tobacco products. The federal government puts a tax of 39 cents a pack on cigarettes, with all revenue going into the general treasury fund. The House bill would increase that tax by 45 cents, while the Senate would tack on 61 cents, with the revenue specifically funding the SCHIP expansion.
Here is a quote from Senator Representative Hank Johnson D-Georgia, I am sure that the tobacco industry will be pleased because they won’t have to pay the proposed taxes. Tobacco wins. Our children lose.

How can anyone with three children of his own vote against the welfare of children? Because John Shimkus has a nice salary complements of the taxpayers (the level of which he NEVER deserved!). Very few of his constituents will ever see that income in their lives.

John Shimkus (IL-19):
  • no fan of children
  • no fan of animals
  • typical partisan hack
Time for Joe McMenamin to represent IL-19!

Update: At least he made excuses before he scampered off to Iceland:

An aide said Shimkus, R-Collinsville, is willing to work with Durbin and others to reach a new compromise.

Aides referred to previous statements in which Shimkus outlined his objections to the bill now back before Congress.

The bill removes a provision from the law that requires checking the legal status of people receiving the government benefit, Shimkus said previously.

I don't believe my constituents want me spending their hard-earned tax dollars on illegal immigrants' health care when they may not be eligible themselves, Shimkus said.

He said that not enough money is budgeted in the last year of the plan. The cost would be pushed along to subsequent budget years, Shimkus said.

Durbin said the federal government is spending $35 billion per month on the war in Iraq and Congress is being asked for almost $200 billion more.

None of that is paid for, Durbin said.

Shimkus previously said he does not want to expand a government program.

The bill brings children who are currently in private health care insurance plans into a government-run program, he said. I fully support getting every child into an insurance plan; I do not support bringing children who are already covered into a government-run plan.

Durbin said the number of uninsured children has dramatically increased for the first time since 1998. The number of uninsured children rose to 8.7 million in 2006, up from 8 million in 2005, a 9 percent increase.

Shimkus said he believes the increased tobacco tax that the bill would impose to pay for insuring more children would put an unfair burden on the poor, who pay a disproportionate share of tobacco taxes.

Durbin brought a guest to the news conference -- Rebecca Bennett of Belleville, a mother of five, whose husband is a school custodian.

Bennett said her family would be in dire straits were it not for a similar statewide program called All Kids. She said she does not know how her family would get along without it.

We would probably eat less, she said.

Durbin said legislators worked out a compromise that would provide health care coverage to more than 10 million low-income children, compared to the current 6.6 million under the existing program.

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At 09 October, 2007 18:20, Blogger cunningham507 said...

Goodness, where to begin?

Professor Gruber is correct in arguing that tax subsidies are inefficient. But I'm surprised that someone with his knowledge of the so-called "crowd-out effect" didn't mention that for every 100 newly eligible SCHIP children enrolled, about 50 others lose their existing private insurance?

The average difference between SCHIP-subsidized premiums and private insurance premiums is more than $600 a year. By every independent study, private insurance costs taxpayers far less.

For example, under the Senate bill, the average annual cost of insuring a SCHIP enrollee rises by more than $1,000, to twice the cost of average private health insurance premiums. The House bill is 2.5 times more expensive than private insurance!

The best estimate of the number of "children" who will leave employer-sponsored private health plans to state-subsidized plans is 2,000,000 (CBO).

SCHIP includes "kids" up to age 25 -- auditors have found recipients in graduate school.

The expansion will not be "covered by the increase in tobacco taxes" unless we quickly create at least 22 million new smokers.

It is not possible to "earmark" federal revenues. That's why funds that were supposedly "dedicated" the the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, the Surface Transportation Trust Fund and the Aviation Trust Fund are gone. Those funds have plenty of IOUs, but no cash.

The writer is correct that no states are forced to cover incomes up to $83,000, but many do, because under their waivers they are allowed to.

And there are people who want to spend more on this program?

Reauthorize the program at only 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, drop the illegals, and add tax credits for those at 200%-300%. Poor children will get health care and your grandkids won't get soaked with even more public debt.

At 16 October, 2007 13:03, Blogger Philosophe Forum said...

So the bottom line is that it's OK that children live without proper health care in a country as advanced as the US.

As the bill reads right now, it would add 154,000 Illinois children to the program's current 373,000. It would generate $343 million in wages from 10,000 new jobs. -- That's just in Illinois.

Approx. 72 percent of the American people support this. That includes 66 percent of Republicans. It is also noteworthy to mention that the percentage of people without health insurance using the hospitals' emergency rooms ranges from 30 to 37 percent.

It is amazing that Republicans like John Shimkus & his fans are always willing to pay hundreds of billions of dollars so thousands of Americans can die needlessly yet balk at the thought of spending tens of billions of dollars to keep children alive & healthy. So much for Republican values.


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