Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bush Vetos Expansion of SCHIP

Though he is asking congress to authorize another $200 billion to be spent on the war in Iraq, this morning Bush vetoed the expansion in the State Child Health Insurance Program that would have given the program an additional $35 million over the next five years. (This would have resulted in increasing the yearly budget from $5 million to $12 million.)

Bush said he vetoed the bill because it was a step toward "federalizing" medicine and inappropriately expanded the program beyond its focus on helping poor children.
"I believe in private medicine, not the federal government running the health care system...." And he did this in spite of wide bi-partisan support of the bill.

He is in favor of private medicine, meaning he is in favor of all the big guys continuing to make bank off of the ill health of millions of Americans, while millions more sit by wallowing in their ill health, unable to do anything about it. What ever happened to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

I don't know about you, but having access to quality and affordable health care would do a lot to increase my life and my ability to pursue happiness.

I am at a complete loss as to how vetoing such a bill can be justified in any one's mind. Across the board, whether Americans believe in federalized health care or not, they tend to support the SCHIP programs. (A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 72% of those surveyed support an increase in spending on the program. Margin of error 3 points.) This expansion would have provided health care to more than 10 million children.

The argument is that we as a nation do not currently sit in a place where it would be fiscally sound to support such an expansion (because it would include more than just the "poorest" children) yet we can afford to be spending how many million dollars a month in Iraq?

The program gives coverage to parents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance for their children. Apparently those opposed to this expansion have said their concern is that parents might be prompted to drop private coverage for their children to get cheaper coverage under the bill.

My question is: what the hell is wrong with that? Just because parents ARE purchasing private insurance for their children doesn't mean they can actually afford it. What other sacrifices are being made in those families to ensure that their children stay covered?

Congress plans to re-convene on this issue next week. I hope the Dems can drum up the 15 additional Republican hands needed to override this veto.

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