Monday, May 14, 2007

On the Dole Again

If you’ve been following the series of articles in the SJ-R about the state’s health insurance plans for children, you’ll have read about the experiences of families who have signed on to the wonderful new programs to improve healthcare and make benefit glorious leader Rod Blagojevich. And you’ll have been somewhat surprised to learn that some of these families are earning a more than respectable wage, yet are still availing themselves of state-funded coverage for their children.

When you look at what the state is offering, it does seem like an attractive deal. It’s much cheaper and is more comprehensive than many employer-sponsored health plans. And if you have more than two kids, the annual income threshold is unexpectedly high, making it a viable option for many middle class families. So why not seek wellness by suckling on the government’s curative teat?

When we think of Medicaid and similar programs, we think of the poor and indigent. In short, we think welfare. And no matter which side you approach it from – as a liberal who feels welfare is compassionate or a conservative who feels that it breeds complacency – most of us who read blogs would feel it below our station to go on the dole. We’ve been taught to work hard and sacrifice to avoid the plight, and the stigma, associated with living on the government’s dime.

Yet there is also the feeling that if the state is going to offer it and we’re going to fund it with our tax dollars, then why not exact as much back as possible by letting the state pay for the kids’ annual physicals and the occasional emergency room pebblectomy.*

So where do you stand? If you could cut in half the amount you pay now for health insurance and still keep your favorite pediatrician, would pride alone prevent you from signing-on to a from of Medicaid?

*This procedure, I'm told, is quite rare and as such may not be covered under even the most comprehensive of plans.


nancy said...

I am not sure about how I feel about socialized medicine with the economy the way it is, but Robster and I looked into All Kids back when it was first introduced. For us, it would not have been worth it to give up his employer provided insurance, because, with that, once you add a spouse and one dependant, each additional dependant was pretty much free in terms of the premium, whereas with All Kids, each additional child was quite a bit more. We have several "additional child"s so it was not such a good idea for us, especially with all the red tape involved in finding a doctor.

The SJ-R board on this article is pretty hot right now, especially about the guy making 90k on the program. That doesn't really bother me. It's available and it's taxpayer funded, so I say go for it if you don't have a better deal. We made COBRA payments for a year a long time ago and that is very expensive. I don't blame this family for taking advantage of All least he's working!

Bill Bixby said...

I didn't read the article word-for-word. Did it say whether or not the 90K guy had health insurance available to him? It sounded to me that he may be self-employed and family health insurance may be pretty expensive.

To me this is a simple decision. If I play by the established rules, and the product works effectively, and I don't lose ground on what I already have.....why not use it?

On the other hand, anything Blago has his hands in is sure to be a disaster. If there ever was a Governor who the "emperor has no clothes" concept fits, its him.

nancy said...


I believe that guy was purchasing his insurance through his former employer via COBRA(to the tune of $1100 per month) as he no longer had family coverage available to him with his new job. I'm not endorsing AllKids per se, but it's not like the guy is raking in $400K a year. With a family of six to support, I think it's reasonable for him to want to utilize All Kids' more reasonable premiums.

The Robster pointed out to me last night that when we first looked at All Kids, the program was not up and running and the premiums then may not be what they actually are now. $80/month for four kids seems pretty reasonable, save the headaches involved in finding doctors to participate in the program.

I'm just afraid the whole program is ill-timed and ill-fated under the incapable leadership of Hot Rod.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

My whole problem with any type of universal coverage is that most of the plans being implemented do nothing to address the high cost of healthcare. I'm all for paying doctors what they're worth, but there has to be a way to cut some of the administrative costs.

Bill, have you gotten that rage thing under control? You're one scary dude when you get angry.

Thanks for commenting,

Anonymous said...

I've been a state employee for a long time and seen several plans for "universal" health coverage pitched to the legislature and the public. The All Kids plan, as many, seems great on the surface, but as several of those families pointed out in the SJR article the insurance isn't always accepted by doctors you need to see. It works the same way under many HMOs, but unfortunately for the those families who really do need to take advantage of a subsidized plan, this doesn't fill that gap.

I agree with many of the comments posted here, especially BlogFree's regarding the general high cost of health care and meds. So what's the solution?

p.s. Nancy said, Is "Robster" a cute spouse-name or a pet?

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, this "Anon" is different from the previous one...

These state plans come with good intention, but often leave a bad taste in the mouths of taxpayers. Hopefully this plan will benefit more than it will hurt, unlike many of Gov.Rod's other cost/time-saving ideas he's enforced during his term.

I work, have access to health care for myself and my kids and can afford it. So in my mind this plan is for people who don't have access or can't afford it. As far as your question, (would pride prevent me from signing up?) No, but lazy indifference and a dislike of bureaucratic red tape would. Paperwork is hard!

P.S. "the Robster"??? I'm still new to this Blog, so I don't know who the regulars are either (Anon #1), but I'm curious if he/she refers to themselves that way just online or in real life too?!

nancy said...

Geesh! No, it's just Rob.

If I was a blogger, I'd just call my husband "Mr. Nancy". That seems to be a popular way to refer to one's spouse in the blogoshphere(Mr./Mrs. Insert Blog Name Here). Although I've never known Dan to refer to his wife as "Mrs. Blogfreespringfield". Ah, the path less taken.....

I'll just stick with "Rob" from now on to avoid confusion. It's not like it's any less anonymous than Robster anyway.

So, nice to meet you anonymous posters. I'm nancy, and my husband's Rob. Sorry for the confusion. Dan, my apologies for causing the topic to stray.