Republicans might get around to re-authorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program at some point. Maybe. Sort of. It's only been expired for two months now and when January comes around millions of kids will lose their health coverage but not a big deal because really, as Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch says, those people don't deserve it.
This week, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) helped push a tax bill through the Senate that will cost about $1 trillion. At the same time, he lamented the difficulties of finding the money to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which pays for healthcare for nine million children and costs about $14 billion a year — a program Hatch helped create.
A Sunday-morning tweet from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough quoting Hatch kicked off a dustup on Twitter over the Utah Republican’s take on CHIP. Funding for the program — which was created as a joint effort between Hatch and Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy in 1997 — expired at the end of September; Congress has yet to reauthorize it. That puts health care for millions of American children at risk.
On Thursday evening, as the Senate debated the Republican tax plan, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked whether there’s “something we can do to get the children’s health insurance program done.”
Hatch’s response, in a nutshell: Yes, we’ll fund the program, but we’re really short on money.
“We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. And it’s got to be done the right way,” Hatch said. “But the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore, and to just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending.”
This came as he advocated for a tax bill that, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation’s latest estimate, will add approximately $1 trillion to the deficit even when adjusted for economic growth, and which disproportionately benefits corporations and the wealthy.
Once again, Republicans just passed a Senate GOP tax heist bill that will cost $1.5 trillion just to give the vast majority of that money to corporations and obscenely rich people, but "we just don't have the money" for kids. OK to give a trillion or so to rich people, $14 billion for kids, screw it.
In his speech, Hatch also said he thinks CHIP has done a “terrific job for people who really need the help” and noted that he had advocated for helping those who can’t help themselves throughout his Senate career. But, he continued, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.” He blamed a “liberal philosophy” for creating millions of people “who believe everything they are or ever hope to be depend upon the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them.”
You catch that dog whistle? "The people YOU know who use CHIP are good people. It's those people who are ruining it for the rest of us."
So if CHIP has to go, well, blame those people for ruining it. And if the GOP can get away with trashing CHIP, they can get away with the exact same reasoning behind why they will cut trillions for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid next. Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley:
In a Nov. 29 interview, Grassley was adamant about the need for change, even if farmers and small business owners represent a tiny minority of estate tax payers. The reason, he said, is as much philosophical as practical.
An estate tax effectively and unfairly taxes a person’s earnings twice, he argued: first when they earn it and again when they die. And, he added, it penalizes savers without touching spenders.
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley said, “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
If you're going to be hurt by the GOP austerity budget, it's because those people are immoral and causing you to be hurt by it. We're sorry, but it just has to be done. The morality of your suffering will be noted as long as you continue to vote correctly, citizen.
Oh, and some of us were never fooled into believing Orrin Hatch would make a good "caretaker president" should the impeachment express train get rolling for real.