Children’s Health Care

October 3, 2007

President Bush has vowed to veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program expansion. The program already helps 4 million children receive health care, but the expansion would increase the number to 8 million. It is designed to protect families that cannot afford to provide adquete health care to their children. Now before any starts those classist rants about people needing to get off welfare and get a job, this act is different. It is setup to help the millions of working families who make too much for Medicaid but don’t have enough for the rising costs of private health insurance. While I could understand a few reason for vetoing a universal health care plan, this makes no sense. If he were concerned about limiting the federal budget (clearly not a concern..cough..Iraq…cough) I would understand. If he were concerned it was too limiting and should cover more children (he claims the opposite) I might understand a veto. Or perhaps if had some alternative in mind (other than draining the education system, putting the country in economic distress, and telling families how they ought to live) I could understand.

What Mr. Bush fails to see is the bigger picture. These children are often without coverage because they fall between the extremes of poverty and the comfort of the middle class. But not giving them coverage does not force their parents to get better jobs, nor does it force insurers to lower prices, nor does it take away the rest of a family’s expenses. What it does is leave children without insurance. Children, you know those little innocent people who cannot go out and get insurance for themselves.


WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush certainly will veto legislation expanding a children’s health insurance program by $35 billion over five years despite Democratic pressure lobbying him to change his mind, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino reiterated Tuesday.

The Senate voted 67-29 Thursday night to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a measure Bush has vowed before to veto, saying it’s a step toward universal coverage. The program would double — from 4 million to 8 million — the number of children covered. Eighteen Republicans joined all of the Democrats in voting to expand the program from its current annual budget of $5 billion to $12 billion for the next five years.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah was among those Republicans who split from the president. “It’s unfortunate that the president has chosen to be on what, to me, is clearly the wrong side of this issue.” Bush and many Republicans contend the program’s original intent would be changed under the current bill. They have said their concern is that parents might be prompted to drop private coverage for their children to get cheaper coverage under the bill.

Such a veto would be the fourth of Bush’s presidency. After not using his veto power at all during his first term, the president has vetoed three bills in his second one, including two on stem-cell research legislation and one on a war funding bill with a Democratic timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

“If the president vetoes this bill, he will be vetoing health care for almost 4 million children, and he will be putting ideology — not children — first,” said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.

But Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, wasn’t buying that argument. “This is a perfect example of the type of partisan politics that goes on in Washington all the time,” he told CNN. “It’s not about trying to take care of the children; it’s about how can we get a political advantage.” Lott added, “Do you really believe Republicans don’t want to help poor, low-income children?”

Actually Mr. Lott, that is exactly what I believe.