Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hillarycare's SCHIP Sinks In Oregon

SCHIP went to the voters this week and sank like a highly taxed rock.

It happened in Oregon, where a universal health care for kids proposition that mimicked the DC Dem position on SCHIP, with an identical 300% increase in program reach funded by an identical jacking of tobacco taxes, was on the ballot.

It was there because the Dems had failed to pass the measure through the statehouse, so shoot, they thought, the people want this stuff, so we'll just circumvent those Neanderthal Republicans and put it on the ballot.

Bad idea, the Dems realized, as they watched their dreams flame out by a 60/40 margin. Here's a good recap from today's WSJ:
Measure 50's defeat is being blamed on $12 million in advertising by Big Tobacco. "What happened was, the tobacco industry bought the election," Governor Kulongoski declared yesterday.

We're surprised the Governor thinks voters in his left-leaning state are so easily gulled -- especially in a contest between "healthy kids" and cigarettes. More persuasive is the notion that voters didn't want to pass a state tax increase to finance a health-care expansion that Congress might soon pass, along with buckets of federal dollars. But most likely, voters understood that a tax increase on cigarettes is still a tax increase, and a highly regressive one at that. Only about 20% of Oregonians smoke, and most of those are lower income.

They may also have figured that to the extent tobacco taxes reduce smoking, they will soon not yield enough revenue to pay for ever-growing health costs. An analysis by William Conerly, a member of Governor Kulongoski's own Council of Economic Advisors, found that a straight Schip expansion funded by a tobacco tax was unsustainable, with costs exceeding revenues by $115 million by 2017.

Counting "crowd out" -- the migration to public from private insurance -- Mr. Conerly predicted a $638 million deficit within the decade.
The idea that Oregonians defeated the measure because they'd rather wait for a federally funded program is ludicrous; taxes are taxes, whether they're state or federal, they still rip money out of our wallet.

The more likely explanation is that Americans may be unhappy with our health care system, but we want an American solution to the problem, not a European one.

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