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.
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