Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All in the Family(Care)

Did you know that Illinois offers low-cost health insurance to parents of young children? Based on family income, rates run from $15 to $40 a month; plans include low ($2!) co-pays for doctors' visits and meds.
Sweet deal.
But that particular gravy train has hit the bumper:
It seems that Gov Blagojevich (pronounced "Schwarzenegger") wanted more folks to qualify for the plan, and so raised the eligibility limits. For example, a family of four could have over $80,000 of income and still qualify for the plan. Seems to me that $80,000 is not "poor," but solidly middle class. This kind of "expansion by fiat" is why a lot of people find the programs themselves so offensive. If the goal is to help "the poor," then let's have a realistic definition of "poor."
And that's exactly what Cook County Circuit Judge James R. Epstein has done: after Gov Blagojevich "unilaterally reinstated the coverage and expanded it to 400 percent of the poverty level, or $83,000 for four," Judge Epstein issued a restraining order, putting the brakes on the expansion. As a result, FamilyCare officials "stopped submitting vouchers it receives from health care providers to the state comptroller for reimbursement."
The net result is that, because the Gov got greedy, even folks who, by almost anyone's definition, really are poor will now suffer. Something about the baby and the bathwater? What is it that drives politicos to take reasonably designed programs and turn them into personal causes?
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