Get ready for the next major battle, and it will be at least as potentially divisive for the Republicans as the immigration divide. The issue is universal health care, and the forces of this “one size fits all” system are in full stealth mode, with the lead element being the massive expansion (to $75 billion over five years) of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). What makes this vehicle so insidious is that it emphasizes children’s health and the underinsured condition of so many of them, while infiltrating families, including coverage of large numbers of adults, whose annual income is as high as over $80,000. It goes without saying that once a program this broad takes hold, it will be virtually impossible to reverse such a middle class benefit, and from there it will be only a small step to universal “cradle to grave” coverage and a complete socialization of the nation’s health care system, Hillary Clinton’s dream. Some observers feel that the Democrats may overplay their hand with the very expensive SCHIP expansion and be forced to significantly cut other popular programs to pay for it, such as the subsidy for Medicare Advantage, the private Medicare program. But don’t bet on it. More likely, it’s time to get talk radio geared up again and for President Bush to dust off the veto pen, in the middle of an election year to boot.
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