Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Bush Renews Threat to Veto Children’s Health Insurance

This should prove the end of the lie about Bush’s “compassionate conservatism.”  The man who took an unprecedented surplus and turned it into mountains of red ink is claiming to do this for “fiscal responsiblity,” when the truth is that the price of renewing and expanding S-CHIP ($35 billion) is about 6 months in Iraq.  (For a breakdown of how much–not counting lives and limbs–the war is costing this nation, click here.) Bush is angering his own party on this one, because Republican governors and know how much S-CHIP has saved business, hospitals, and schools.  Also, the GOP knows that any Republican politician up for reelection in ’08 who doesn’t vote to override the president’s veto on S-CHIP can kiss her or his political futures good-bye.

It will take more than Laura Bush’s campaigns for literacy or W reading “My Pet Duck” to kindergartners to rescue an image of compassion for children from the realities of this cruel and unnecessary veto.

UPDATE: The Senate and the House have reached compromise legislation that will prevent states from enrolling adults (and make them take adults off) and only ensure children making up to 200% of poverty–too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase insurance.  The $35 billion will increase the number of children insured from 6.6 million to 10 million and will be paid for by an increased tax on cigarettes (which seems appropriate since tobacco use adds enormous burdens to healthcare, costs businesses billions a year in increased sick days and other production loss–not to mention all the smoke breaks when non-smokers get only 1 15 min. break every 4 hourse by law!).  The president is still threatening to veto any bill which increases the funding more than $5 billion (not even enough to keep S-CHIP up with inflation).  Based on votes on earlier versions of the bill, the Senate can probably muster 67 favorable votes (enough to override a veto), but this will be harder in the House.


September 21, 2007 - Posted by | child welfare


  1. My understanding was that the program was originally for poor children, but the new bill is designed to expand coverage to a new group which is neither poor nor children. There is another argument that the blame should be placed squarely on those who wanted to exploit a program for poor children as a back door method for sneaking socialist health care in. Of course, if those who disagree with socialist health care do not have a right to their opinion, then I suppose it is OK to only consider one side of the argument.

    Of course, my gripe is mainly on the supply side problems which are created primarily by government interference. Whether the bill is vetoed or not won’t address anything regarding supply, so I don’t see why it is worth fighting over.

    Comment by Looney | September 21, 2007

  2. Supply-side? Thanks for reminding me why you are called “Looney.” Look, yes, originally to qualify for the program one had to have a family income BELOW the official poverty levels. But we know that far more people are unable to afford health insurance for their children or can only afford insurance with such incredible deductibles as to be useless. This expansion would have covered many of them. Further, S-CHIP was remarkably successful in SAVING money. Originally it had many doubters among business communities, fiscal conservatives (remember those?) and the medical community, but since its initial run it has SAVED so much money by stopping the use of emergency rooms for primary care that insurance premiums have dropped even as sick children have been helped. Further, since healthy children learn better, S-CHIP has helped the public schools, too.
    That’s why far more Republicans are for this now than when insituted. But you stick to your supply-side ideology. The American people prefer pragmatic results to ideology and they will make supply siders pay for the failure to renew and expand this program.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | September 21, 2007

  3. Ummm, my premiums sure haven’t dropped. I have managed to keep them the same by dramatically increasing deductibles. I don’t bother to see the doctor unless my medical condition completely incapacitates me due to the runaway costs. Even if I had the money, the only way I can see the doctor is to price someone else out of the market.

    The supply side issue results from artificially constraining the number of doctors and leaving nursing schools underfunded and understaffed. There are more patients than the doctors can handle and it is only going to get worse as we treat all of the elderly + half of Mexico (for free).

    Now I don’t mind helping the poor with health care. What I am bothered by is politicians dragging the whole system down and no one can protest without being accused of being callous towards the poor.

    Comment by Looney | September 22, 2007

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