Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Socialized Medicine In New Jersey

Big brother is not only watching, in New Jersey he has decided to step on the toes of millions of competent parents and muscle in on the parenting of their children all for the sake of socialized medicine.

Recently the State of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, along with local school districts, issued a letter requiring parents to provide specific health insurance information about their children who attend school within their respective local school districts. The letter from the department requires disclosure of the following private information:

The status and the insurance provider’s name of each child's health coverage.
The date of the child’s last medical exam.
The date of the child’s last lead blood level test.

None of the concerns listed on the letter present an immediate or long-term public health risk. So why is the Garden State (or should we say Guardian State) peering over our shoulders and watching our kids? The state’s motivation here appears to be a bit insidious around the edges, and it comes to us under the guise of promoting NJ FamilyCare; a federally and state funded health care plan for low-income, uninsured children, and, in many instances, adults.

On the surface, this looks like a very compassionate program to take care of our precious children. But this is only skin deep. A closer look reveals a half-hearted attempt at socialized medicine. The state claims that NJ FamilyCare is not a welfare program, yet is costs only a maximum of $120.50 all the way down to no charge per month, depending on family size and income. So the rest of us, who neither need, nor care to participate in the program, will end up footing the bill. The annual cost of this program is approaching $400 million in state and federal funds.

What gives here? The question remains, why is the state interested in our children’s medical care? Is this the beginning of a plan to bring us all into the fold of socialized medicine by cataloging and evaluating the quality of care the parents of New Jersey give to their children? Do no think this is far fetched. At least one New Jersey legislator, Sen. Ellen Karcher, is working diligently to introduce a bill that would outlaw transfat in restaurant foods. Big brother not only wants to watch our children, he wants to watch us eat too. In the Guardian State freedom of choice is not on the menu.

The state, in its infinite wisdom, may make a choice of healthy cuisine for us, and then decide that we are not caring for little Johnny and Jane well enough. They would know this through all of the information they have already collected, in addition to more detailed information they will undoubtedly collect in coming months and years. Why else would they query every parent in the state about the status of their child’s healthcare and their last medical exam?

The process would be much more efficient, streamlined, and cheaper, if they queried only those who need or want to enroll in NJ FamilyCare. Perhaps they could reach out with a single flyer that reads something like: If your child or you are without healthcare, and you wish to enroll in NJ FamilyCare, please call the New Jersey Dept. Human Services.

Information concerning children who are already have health insurance coverage is of no use to the NJ Familycare program. Conversely, information concerning children who are not covered is of great use to the program, unless of course their interest is more than just providing health insurance for low income families.

Step by step, inch by inch, the Guardian State is moving toward socialized medicine. It is riding on the back of the NJ Familycare program that evolved from NJ KidCare, which covered only children, to NJ FamilyCare that brought adults under the program’s wing also. Eventually, the state will bring all us into the program by using the information it collects to declare that all of us bad parents out there are need to be told how to care for our children, and socialized medicine is their solution.

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