Bush Gets It Right: The Series About State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
Author: Norman Kjono
Article Published: 11 January 2008
The anti-tobacco industry suffered a stupendous defeat in 2007. It's worthwhile to examine how anti-tobacco attempted to impose social policy and why its attempt failed.
In our anxious era nothing supplies the demagogues more traction than "health." By becoming the highest value in both the private and public realms, health concerns and worries trump all other issues. As dictatorial regimes long ago marshaled up health policy as a weapon to control the people, so too now in the industrial west political coalitions are busy at work instilling fear in the populace that health care is on the verge of disappearing, leaving society subject to sickness and disability. Ironically health hysteria is being spread as longevity rates continue to climb and individual satisfaction with personal health care remains strong.
In the United States the current malaise over health care is focused on the uninsured. Both political parties rail against a situation where a substantial percentage of the population is uninsured. In this cauldron of emotion political hacks decided to take the opportunity to expand a government program designed to care for children from the poor segment of society. While one would be hard pressed to argue against expanding health care for the most disadvantaged, a look at how this program was to be expanded revealed an ugly melding of cynicism with corporate mercantile machination.
Norman Kjono was on the case back in September when Congress, controlled by the Democratic Party, submitted its Three Card Monte scheme to expand health care insurance for poor children. Anti-tobacco shills trumpeted how this expansion would be free because it would be financed by a huge cigarette tax increase. Preposterously they, and their congressional comrades in the confidence game racket, simultaneously predicted that smoking rates would decline because of the higher cost of smokes.
High cigarette tax equals more health insurance. High cigarette tax equals declining smoking rates equals less money for the health insurance. Such a contradiction, sadly, is part and parcel of today's political assumptions. Mr. Kjono explains how this contradiction, along with a growing distaste for the politics of demonization sank the Ponzi scheme.