Children‘s insurance bill unacceptable, says Bush. He vetoed a bipartisan effort in Congress to increase funding for SCHIP, a very popular program for the second time. He executed the veto in private on Wednesday, December 12. Wednesday was the deadline for Bush to act or let the bill become law. The president also vetoed an earlier, similar bill expanding this health insurance program.
In a statement notifying Congress of his decision, Bush said the bill was unacceptable because- like the first one- it allows adults into the program, would cover people in families with incomes above the U.S. median and raises taxes.
“This bill does not put poor children first, and it moves our country’s health care system in the wrong direction ,” Bush’s statement said. “Ultimately, our nation’s goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage, not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage.
Bush urged Congress to extend the program at its current funding level before lawmakers leave Washington for their holiday break
In fact, Congressional leaders had already said earlier Wednesday that they now will only try to extend the State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP], well into 2008 in basically its current form. They have not given up efforts to substantially expand the program. “We are not going to let this veto stand,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Democrats are scheduling the veto override vote to coincide with the week Bush comes to Congress to deliver the State of the Union address
For American kids seriously in need of the care SCHIP would provide, Bush’s veto is like getting a lump of coal for Christmas. Bush is happily dumping billions of dollars into Iraq every month, but when Congress tries to strengthen our nation’s safety net for children-look out here comes the veto pen Wednesday’s action is just another reminder that the right wing doesn’t care about the common good. They don’t want government to take care of those most in need, let alone provide a universal healthcare system that covers everyone.
What about those children who don’t have access to healthcare today?
The right wing’s answer is: that their parents didn’t work hard enough, weren’t disciplined enough, to become prosperous. Its not the job of government to help out those who are suffering.
Conservatives believe a social safety net is immoral.
The bill passed the Democratic controlled Senate by a veto-proof margin, but the same was not true in the House. A two-thirds vote in both chambers is required to override a presidential veto.
The bill vetoed would have increased federal funding for SCHIP by $35 billion over five years to add an estimated four million people to the program. The program currently provides benefits to six million. Bush originally proposed adding five billion to the program over five years. He also opposed using an increased tobacco tax to fund the expansion.
Bush’s veto earlier of a similar bill was narrowly upheld by the House. But such votes are uncomfortable for GOP lawmakers. It is a popular program with the public, making some Republicans wary of sticking with Bush with the 2008 election looming. Especially since more than nine percent of all children are uninsured.
Jennifer Loven, Bradenton Herald, Associated Press, Front Page, December 13, 2007
Posted by Andrew, NORTHWEST PROGRESSIVE INSTITUTE OFFICIAL BLOG. December12, 2007