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Too close for comfort: Federal health insurance program passes under slim margin


Photo illustration by Joshua Bowling.

This past legislative session, in a last-ditch effort by Democrats and moderate Republicans, they voted to pass one of the most discussed bills of the legislative session.

KidsCare, formally known as the Arizona Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a federal-funded government healthcare program for low income children and young adults under the age of 19.

While sometimes confused as being free, it is partially paid for by families. However, the premiums are inexpensive, ranging from $50-$70 a month, and in some cases they are covered entirely by the government.

The program is estimated to give coverage to more than 30,000 children here in Arizona. Advocates for the bill suggested that KidsCare can prevent emergency room visits and keep illnesses from progressing in children.

With all the benefits that KidsCare provides — and no cost to the individual state budgets — it is no wonder every single state in U.S. accepts the benefits. In Arizona however, this was not an easy argument.

State Representative Eddie Farnsworth (R-Gilbert) stated in his argument that the piece of legislation takes away the concept of America, citing it as "disgusting" and "anti-American."

"It doesn’t matter how many times we say, ‘It’s for the kids,'" he said. "A government that can take from people and give to other people through the force of the police force can take everything from us. I don’t care if you have 12 or 14 kids."

However, his statement is rather conflicting.

His first misconception is that by passing this program, it allows the government to take away anything from us. By being a citizen of this country we agree to the laws that are passed by the majority, and we have the ability to change them through a majority vote.

If a majority of Americans voted for government to take away everything from us, then that would be the law because that's how democracy works in this country. Of course there will never be a majority that votes for this, making this argument flawed because it uses extremism to justify its own extreme stance.

In another regard, Rep. Farnsworth is in essence stating that KidsCare is a socialist program because it takes money away from some and gives it to others.

However, under this logic, we could get rid of any well-respected government program: We take tax money from people who don’t drive to build roads, so let’s stop building roads because that’s taking money from people and giving it to others. We take tax money from older people to pay for K-12 education, so we should end public education to prevent the transfer of money. While we are at it, let’s stop funding universities completely, because the only people who benefit from that are those students.

The logical inconsistency presented in Rep. Farnsworth’s argument is that moving money somewhere only benefits the group receiving it.

The reason the government builds roads and funds education is that, though primarily those who use those goods directly benefit from these services, we all indirectly benefit from them as well. Our mail is delivered to us because there are public roads. Our hospital visits are made safe because we are being treated by educated doctors and nurses.

Even the campaigns that are run for state office are comprised of a socialist construct: People coming together and sacrificing individual resources, because they know that they will be indirectly affected. They sacrifice their time and money because they believe by doing this they can help secure a better future.

We vote for government programs because we believe that in the long run, all of us benefit from them.

The fact is, one cannot dismiss a government program on the basis that it transfers money from one group to another. KidsCare will ensure the safety of tens of thousands of more children, so that they may have the opportunity to fulfill the American dream. They may start businesses that create jobs, or become doctors who save lives. We cannot be sure of who they become, but we can be assured that the playing field for success in America feels a little more even.

KidsCare is supported in every single state in the U.S., including not-so-liberal strongholds such as Texas and Oklahoma. While it is illogical to support something simply because everyone else does, given the lack of logic in the counterarguments, this bill should have passed unanimously. Instead, it only passed by four votes in the Senate.

As the saying goes "If you want to run faster, run alone. If you want to run farther, run together." We thank the legislature for passing it, but it shouldn't have been a debate to begin with.

You can read if your state senator voted in favor of it here. You can read if your state representative voted in favor of it here.

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