Bush Makes Good on his Promise to VETO SCHIP
Hiding behind closed doors, President Bush on Wednesday vetoed the children’s health insurance bill that passed both houses of Congress; the Senate by a vote of 67-29 vote in the Senate and a 265-159 vote in the House of Representatives.
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP] as passed by Congress would add $35 billion over five years to the program to subsidize health care for 4 million children in addition to 6.6 million people currently served. The program is a joint state-federal effort to serve people, mostly children, from families that earn too much qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private insurance. The expansion would primarily be funded by raising the federal cigarette tax from 39 cents to $1 per pack, a 61 cents per pack increase.
President Bush is totally out of step with public opinion; even 61 percent of Republicans support the children’s health care bill. Just 15 more Republicans in Congress are needed to break with the President to override the veto. Several organizations such as MoveOn are taking immediate steps to put the pressure on. For example MoveOn will rally on Thursday, October 4 at 6:00 PM in the Congressional office of Vern Buchanan [R-Fl 13 Dist] who voted for the bill on Tuesday as it passed the House. Their goal is to is to show that they are outraged "that Republican’s are blocking health care for our children".
The President had PROMISED to VETO the bill saying it was too costly, took the program too far from its initial intent of helping the poor, and would cause people now covered in the private sector to switch to coverage by the government. He wants only a $5 billion increase over five years. He also stated that it would be a step toward socialized medicine as written. The proponents denied this, stating that their goal is to cover more of the millions of uninsured children and noted that the bill provides financial incentives for states to cover their lowest-income children first.
In the case of the SCHIP bill, the veto is a high stakes gamble for the President which leads some to think that Congress should be able to reach a compromise with the President now that he has vetoed the bill.- Advertisement -
1. "Bush Vetoes Child Health Insurance Plan", Trouthout, October 3, 2007
2. " Kenneth Briggs:President has Promised to Veto SCHIP, OpEdNews, September 28, 2007
3. "Sarasota tomorrow: Emergency rally for kids’ health care, MoveOn.org Political action, October 3.2007
If not enough Republicans stand up to Bush to overturn the veto, the Democrats have promised to keep sending the bill to Bush, each time increasing the pressure on vulnerable Republicans to support health care for our kids. The objective of these battles is to set the stage for the philosophical question of whether or not we should make sure everyone gets healthcare and will set the stage for the broader fights to come.