Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Health care is welfare? That's what Bill Brady said. Kristen McQueary takes him to task

Kristen McQueary of the Daily Southtown takes Senator Bill Brady to town for calling KidCare and FamilyCare (Illinois' health care programs administered through Medicaid) 'welfare.'

And then she takes the Catholic Church to task for not expressing outrage that a Catholic Senator would heap disdain on providing health care to families.

The column is here. Read it.

Well, here are some of the best parts:

Brady hammered Gov. Rod Blagojevich for allowing more families and children to enroll in KidCare and FamilyCare, Illinois' two Medicaid programs. Blagojevich believes health care is a right and has expanded the eligibility requirements for FamilyCare and KidCare to allow more families to sign up.

To be eligible for the programs, enrollees have to be working. While there are exceptions, about 94 percent of participants are earning a paycheck, according to the program's administrator, and some are charged affordable premiums based on their salaries. A family of four earning less than $40,000 a year, for example, is eligible.

So who are these families?

They are the women who launder Brady's dirty hotel towels. They are the men who spray fertilizer at Brady's favorite golf course and change his oil and take his fast-food order at 9 p.m., halfway through their second shift.

Many aren't in minimum-wage jobs. They work at insurance agencies, real-estate firms and home-based businesses that can't afford group health insurance. Surely those employees would cringe at being labeled "welfare recipients." These are not people collecting checks from the state while loafing around their broken-down homes.

Yet, Brady and state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger (R-Elgin) both have characterized FamilyCare and KidCare as welfare.

"It's the definition of welfare. It's government assistance," Brady said. "I want everyone to have access to quality health care, and I think they can get it by providing for themselves and by the state helping to bring in well-paying jobs."

Good luck on that one.

-------------------(end of column clip)

And who subsidizes private sector health insurance? We all do. When a company buys health insurance for their employees, that's a business expense which is deducted from corporate income -- so the business doesn't pay income tax on that money. And the employee who gets the health insurance doesn't pay income on the value of the insurance -- another public subsidy. But if the government administers the health insurance directly, then it transforms into 'welfare.'

Such B.S.

One other nugget from the column:

We don't even know if Illinois' major employers are paying their income taxes. It's private information that Blagojevich has pushed to make public, to no avail.

---------------(end of column clip)

What's that about? Every coporate income tax return should be public record. Why not?


MDS said...

Surely those employees would cringe at being labeled "welfare recipients."

If they would, they're elitist snobs. What makes them think they're better than welfare recipients? Calling someone a welfare recipient isn't an insult.

BuckTurgidson said...

Let's not forget, he called government assistance to businesses "...providing a level playing field..."

So, let's recap.

Health Care for children and families who work: welfare.

Government subsidies to for-profit corporations: level playing field.

We haven't done the Lord enough favors for him to let Senator not-ready-for-prime-time win the nomination, have we?

Anonymous said...


1. If possible, get Andy Grove to come to Illinois and speak on health care.

2. Education: we could easily invest more in public education of health care.
a.Does the state university system have a medicine research outfit? (Stanford may make more from life science royalty than computer tech)

b.Some of medicine could be greatly helped by process innnovation - finding dramatically more efficient ways to distribute things would make things less scarce and cheaper. This is commond ground as it helps business and government. A research institution at a public university in Illinois could be geared toward process innovation as well as other forms of innovation.

Nathan Kaufman said...


Arizona recently had a good year on revenue tax collections and plunked some money into health education and research.

Anonymous said...

Great that McQueary called Brady to task. Fact: People will get sick and use emergency rooms which cost the state a fortune. Access to care in a doctors office where the Federal government gives us 65 cents on the dollar is nothing to poo-poo.
Bad move on Brady's part...someone is giving him bad advice.

n. y. krause said...

Dan, although we're homies and you best believe I got your back in case some kinda punk marks want to step up and throw down, I have to ask, what are you smoking? This kidcare program is clearly welfare. "Welfare" is just a name for a kind of program. It's true that it's not a very popular word, the same way that "liberals" or "tax cuts for the rich", etc., etc. are unpopular, but that doesn't change its meaning. Welfare is any program where the government gives money or goods directly to people on the grounds that they're needy. I thought you were in favor of that!

Now, you have a point that its hypocritical for this Brady fellow to be against welfare for poor people and yet support subsidies to business. On ther other hand, not having to pay taxes on something is not the same thing as a subsidy. As I said in one my old Daily Illini columns, that's the same kind of "subsidy" you get if I rob you for your wallet but I let you keep your watch. Well, never mind: I know that you liberals ... er, sorry, progressives (actually, I'm a liberal) ... I know that you progressives think it is a subsidy, so I doubt I'll change your mind today.

Anonymous said...

ideas from health industry neophyte... there are at least three types of markets:
1. mass-market products and services related to public health
2. niche, orphaned illness and disease (ALS, Cystic Fibrosis, others)
3. high margin drugs for mass market (big pharma - cholesterol, heart, arthritis and pain, depression, etc)

In IL we could beef up public education related to this stuff.

Points 1 and 2 arguably look like market failures with big spillover benefits suitable for public expenditure.

Point 1 may be somewhat addressed within existing framework yet one could argue for more, including process innovation.

Point 2 would be a nifty point of differentiation: pick some orphaned diseases and build a center for research excellence. Study something purely because it is complicated and difficult - not necessarily because it is a huge market or immediately profitable to specific individuals or companies.

There are multiple possible funding sources. The foundation at the Univ of IL may be one possible source. State tax funding may be another. There may opportunities for joint-educational-ventures with private universities - Bradley, IL Wesleyan, etc.

This would bring jobs, tax revenue, and bright & hard-working people to IL.

Generally, we need to plunk more assets in long-term, highly-variable, high-risk health care things. We also need to get more for existing health care spending on routine things.

Extreme Wisdom said...

Boy, nothing like telling the Emperor that he isn't wearing any clothes to rouse up the rabble.

If you think health care is a "right" then you think Doctors should be "enslaved."

You want health care? Stop eating pasta & Cheetos. Good Golly, the gall of you people.

Nothing like collectivizing farms and killing Ukranians to meet your utopian manias.

If you aren't paying for it, it's Welfare. Brady was right ,and if you make it a campaign issue, most will agree with him.

You may have the votes to "impose your morality" on us.

Heck, you may even convince me that it is the right thing to do. But your never ending drive to obfusacte the truth with your PC pabulum is wearing thin.

PC is a lie. Handouts are Welfare. Illinois will eventually revert to the mean.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wisdom.

It was EXTREME!!!!