Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Bringing LIBERTY to Capitol Hill -- 2008
Saturday Morning, October 6, 2007, 10:30am

A Discussion of The President's Saturday Morning Radio Address

Click here to listen to a replay of the October 6, 2007 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall

Notes and Summary of the Broadcast -- S-CHIP Reauthorization

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. One important commitment of the Federal government is to help America's poorest children get access to health care. Washington is now in the midst of an important debate over the future of this vital program. I strongly support SCHIP. My Administration has added more than 2 million children to SCHIP since 2001. And our 2008 budget increases SCHIP funding by 20 percent over five years.

How the President Differs from the American vision of "Liberty Under God":

  • Unfortunately, today's Americans do not believe in "liberty," they prefer "security" or "equality."
  • Today's Americans do not believe in liberty Under God, preferring a secular savior, the State.
  • According to America's Founding Fathers and their Constitution, health care and medical decisions are NOT an "important commitment of the Federal government."
  • Capitalism has given Americans the best healthcare system in the world.
  • Socialist nations do not have health care as good as ours. People leave those nations to get better medical care in America.
  • Problems in American medicine are caused by government regulations and socialist intervention.
  • Capitalism provides the highest quality health care to the greatest number of people.
  • Socialism provides equality of health care -- at a lower level of quality and timeliness.
  • Both Democrats and Republicans ignore the "experiment in liberty" of yesterday's Americans that proved so successful, making America the most prosperous and admired nation on earth. Both parties believe in the government as savior.
  • SCHIP was covered in the September 22, 2007 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall.

President's Radio Address Liberty Under God
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. One important commitment of the Federal government is to help America's poorest children get access to health care. Most of these children are covered by Medicaid, which will spend more than $35 billion to help them this fiscal year. For children who do not qualify for Medicaid, but whose families are struggling, we have the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. President Bush took an oath to "support the Constitution." This is proof he violates that oath. The Constitution gives no power to the federal government to take money from your paycheck claiming to "help America's poorest children get access to health care." Medicaid and SCHIP are unconstitutional programs. There is no valid reason why we should send our money to Washington D.C., have bureaucrats take their cut, and send it back to us with strings attached.
Washington is now in the midst of an important debate over the future of this vital program. I strongly support SCHIP. My Administration has added more than 2 million children to SCHIP since 2001. And our 2008 budget increases SCHIP funding by 20 percent over five years. SCHIP is the product of a Republican Congress in 1997. Bush "strongly" supports the program. There is no debate in Congress about whether or not we should have socialized healthcare.
Unfortunately, more than 500,000 poor children who are eligible for SCHIP coverage are not enrolled in the program. At the same time, many States are spending SCHIP funds on adults. In fact, based on their own projections for this fiscal year, Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, Rhode Island, and New Mexico will spend more SCHIP money on adults than they do on children. And that is not the purpose of the program. Democrats want to expand socialized medicine rapidly. Republicans are content to expand socialized medicine more slowly, talking about "fiscal responsibility" along the way.
This week, congressional leaders sent me a deeply flawed bill that would move SCHIP even further from its original purpose. Here are some of the problems with Congress's plan: Under their plan, one out of every three children who moves onto government coverage would drop private insurance. In other words, millions of children would move out of private health insurance and onto a government program. Congress's plan would also transform a program for poor children into one that covers children in some households with incomes up to $83,000. Congress's plan would raise taxes on working people. And Congress's plan does not even fully fund all the new spending. If their plan becomes law, five years from now Congress would have to choose between throwing people off SCHIP -- or raising taxes a second time. The criticisms of this bill are criticisms of the entire program. The economic and cultural considerations marshaled by the President against Democrat expansion should be applied to the entire program. Government funding always crowds out personal responsibility.
Congress's SCHIP plan is an incremental step toward their goal of government-run health care for every American. Government-run health care would deprive Americans of the choice and competition that comes from the private market. It would cause huge increases in government spending. It would result in rationing, inefficiency, and long waiting lines. It would replace the doctor-patient relationship with dependency on bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. And it is the wrong direction for our country. It is truly the wrong direction for our country. But Bush misstates the facts when he said above, "Washington is now in the midst of an important debate over the future of this vital program. I strongly support SCHIP. My Administration has added more than 2 million children to SCHIP since 2001. And our 2008 budget increases SCHIP funding by 20 percent over five years."

There is no debate about the "direction" our country is taking. Only the speed.

Congress knew that I would veto this bill, yet they sent it anyway. So on Wednesday, I vetoed the SCHIP bill. And I asked Members of Congress to come together and work with me on a responsible bill that I can sign -- so we can keep this important program serving America's poor children. Democrats know that they can get political mileage out of this issue. "It's for the children."
When it comes to SCHIP, we should be guided by a clear principle: Put poor children first. I urge Republicans and Democrats in Congress to support a bill that moves adults off this children's program -- and covers children who do not qualify for Medicaid, but whose families are struggling. If putting poor children first takes a little more than the 20 percent increase I have proposed in my budget for SCHIP, I am willing to work with leaders in Congress to find the additional money. Government programs always cost more than private initiative to solve the same problem.

SCHIP will cost the government over $4,000 per year for every newly insured child, compared to $2,300 per year to add a child to a private insurance plan.

If you know of a child who has no health insurance, why go to Washington D.C. for help? Why not discover or lobby for local and private solutions to the problem? Bush and the Democrats are basically on the same page.

Ultimately, our Nation's goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage -- not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. By working together, Republicans and Democrats can strengthen SCHIP, ensure that it reaches the children who need it, and find ways to help more American families get the private health coverage they need. As the Democrats point out in their address, "In 2004, at the Republican National Convention, the President promised (and I quote): 'In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of children who are eligible but not signed up for government health insurance programs. We will not allow, he said, 'a lack of attention, or information, to stand between these children and the health care they need.'"
Thank you for listening.  

Additional Resources:

Congressional Control of Health Care is Dangerous to Children - Rep. Ron Paul
We don’t need a village, a bureaucrat, or the pharmaceutical industry raising our children.  That’s what parents need to be doing.
Why Bush Resists Child Health Bill
SCHIP is senseless. Like its much larger sibling, Medicaid, the program forces taxpayers to send their money to Washington so that Congress can send it back to state governments with strings attached. Both programs force taxpayers to subsidize people who don't need help, discourage low-income families from climbing the economic ladder - and make private insurance more expensive for everyone else. All told, SCHIP is a very costly way of helping targeted families obtain health coverage.
A recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study revealed that an overwhelming 77% of children affected by this expansion already have personal health insurance.  Expanding income eligibility for SCHIP will serve as a taxpayer funded substitute to these personal insurance plans, resulting in many children who already have health insurance leaving the private sector for the taxpayer rolls. As the income requirements are eased, the CBO estimates that 2.1 million children who currently have insurance will drop it for the government-run program.  As they leave for SCHIP coverage, premiums for those still holding private coverage will rise, encouraging even more to sign up for taxpayer-funded SCHIP in a dangerous downward cycle. 
SCHIP follies - - The Washington Times
As part of their latest political charade, Democrats are joining with their special-interest allies to launch a massive advertising campaign to trash politically vulnerable House members who are demanding fiscal restraint instead of backing a misguided bill that would expand SCHIP coverage to adults and upper-middle income families with incomes of up to $83,000 for a family of four. One liberal activist coalition includes everyone from the Service Employees International Union to Press reports indicate they're spending up to $5 million this month on an advertising blitz they hope will intimidate members into supporting the march toward socialized medicine.
Abandon SCHIP: Big Government Returns - Acton Institute PowerBlog
The mammoth Congressional expansion of SCHIP is such a bad idea, even the normally big spending President Bush vetoed the bill.
Another growing frustration is a lack of conservative leadership on explaining the consequences of expanding this program.
‘Putting Children First’ Bush Right to Veto SCHIP - HUMAN EVENTS
A Republican Congress enacted the SCHIP program in 1997. Instead of re-authorizing SCHIP with a funding increase to include those children eligible under the intended criteria, the Democratic majority in Congress proposed a broad expansion of SCHIP to include hundreds of thousands of adults as well as upper-income children already covered under private insurance. The price tag is more than double the current program—$35 billion for the expansion alone. In some states, families earning up to $83,000 a year would be eligible for this “low-income program.”
Washington Wire - : Does Veto Bolster Bush’s Standing? Rep. John Campbell: Blog
SCHIP will cost the government over $4,000 per year for every newly insured child, compared to $2,300 per year to add a child to a private insurance plan.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has indicated that cigarette taxes are one of the most regressive taxes, that is, a tax that falls more heavily on lower income individuals as a percentage of income.
With a shrinking tobacco market, this tax uses declining revenues to pay for an expanding program. According to estimates, it would take 22 million new smokers in the United States in the next 5 years to pay for this program. Health care, health insurance, pharmaceutical industry and more - Health Care
Bush Vetoes Child Health Bill Privately

The Democrat Party Radio Address:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer delivers this week's Democratic Radio Address.
"The President claims that this legislation would lead to a government takeover of health insurance. He is wrong. The truth is, America's largest private insurance lobbying group supports this bill."

Libertarian Response to Democrats:

  • See the September 22, 2007 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall.
  • "Private lobbying groups" often lobby Congress for government takeover of their industries - if it brings them profits or "security."
  • Bush wants to expand the SCHIP program, not cut it. He just doesn't want to expand it as much as the Democrats do. There's no evidence that this child would have been denied coverage under the White House expansion.
  • Expanding this government program is wrong. It is sinful and immoral to take money from Jones under threats of violence to give to "the poor children."
  • It is unconstitutional for the federal government to to this, even if it were moral.
  • Capitalism, not socialism, will ensure the greatest amount of the highest quality health care to every child in this country. The medical care available to this child would not have been available to him if he lived in the Soviet Union a few decades ago.
  • Democrats and Republicans are quibbling over ten or fifteen billion tax dollars. True leadership would inspire and orchestrate voluntary giving from those who can afford to do so.
  • Book Review: The Scandal Of The Evangelical Conscience - Acton Institute PowerBlog
    “If American Christians simply gave a tithe rather than the current one-quarter of a tithe, there would be enough private Christian dollars to provide basic health care and education to all the poor of the earth. And we would still have an extra $60-70 billion left over for evangelism around the world.”

Late Questions from Listeners

Unfortunately, a question arrived from a listener after the conclusion of last week's Town Hall:

I thought the Preamble for the Constitution said the purpose of that document was "to provide for the common weal. . ." How can that be done without education? Without public safety? Without regulation of industries that would otherwise rob the public and spoil the environment?

The preamble states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Probably our listener was referring to the highlighted phrase.

What are "the blessings of liberty?" How are they "secured" by the government? The blessings include automobiles, computers, antibiotics, and thousands of groceries at the local market. How are these blessings "secured" by the government? By nationalizing the automobile industry, as in the Soviet Union? No, simply by protecting the nation from foreign invasion and eliminating trade barriers between the several States. What about punishing fraud and crime? Though considered to be a function of government, it was not considered to be a function of the federal government. Punishing crime remained with the states and local governments.

The question posed during the Constitutional Convention and during the ratification process was "What form of government best secures the Blessings of Liberty and promotes the general Welfare?" The answer given was not "a huge centralized federal government with unlimited powers," but rather a limited federal government that has only a few powers enumerated in the constitution, with the rest of government remaining with the states. The Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights summarizes the philosophy of the Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In Federalist 45, Madison described the relationship between the federal government and the states in these famous words:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. [emphasis added]

And nobody believed that the state governments had the authority to nationalize production of computers, automobiles, and groceries. Government on all levels was tightly limited, and liberty extended to The People and their businesses.

This is the theory of constitutionally-enumerated powers. Only powers enumerated in the Constitution are possessed by the federal government.

But doesn't the "promote the general welfare" clause indicate that the federal government has vast, sweeping powers to whatever is necessary to "promote the general welfare?"

In testimony before Congress, CATO Institute scholar Jerry Taylor explained how the architects of the Constitution understood the "general Welfare" phrase:

In Federalist No. 41, Madison summarizes the relationship of the general preface language including the "welfare" language, to the subsequent more detailed enumeration of specific powers, as follows. 

"Some who have denied the necessity of the power of taxation [to the Federal government] have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language on which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed that the power to "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States" amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction." (emphasis added) 

Thus, Madison, who like Story after him sought to defend federal power, treats with derision the claim of opponents of federal powers the claim that the "welfare clause" is a general grant of power. Madison continues Federalist No 41 in this language of angry paradox: 

"For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural or more common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify by an enumeration of the particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity ... what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions and disregarding the specifications which limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the general welfare?" (emphasis added)

More information on the "general Welfare" clause can be found on our Constitution page, and this page.

Our listener mentions three functions which are necessary to secure "the Blessings of Liberty":

The first question to be asked is, must education etc. be provided by the government, or can it be provided by the Free Market: voluntary associations, businesses, and "We the People" networking together to assure that children are educated. In other words, which political theory is true: capitalism or socialism?

If socialism is true, we might still ask, should state and local governments decide how children will be educated, or should that be done by the federal government? In other words if only government can provide these elements of an orderly and prosperous society, which level of government?

The Constitutional answer precludes the federal government from involving itself in these areas. It would not have been ratified by states jealous to protect their own powers, or The People jealous to protect their liberties, if it gave to the federal government such sweeping powers.

Click here for a replay of this edition of the Ozarks Virtual Town Hall