Another Example of Ideology and Politics Trumping Good Sense
As the New York Times reports, President Bush vetoed a bill that would expand a very successful health care program for children. It is called S-CHIP (State- Children’s Health Insurance Program). The bill would have guaranteed health care to some of the neediest children.
Why? Let us count some of the ways. Society benefits when people have access to preventative care. Preventative care is an essential part of S-CHIP. Healthy children do better in school and grow to healthier adults.
In addition, when children are injured or struck by catastrophic illness families can get the intensive and long term care they need. One of the top three crises that bring people to applying for welfare is lack of health care for themselves and their children. The number of children who are vulnerable is growing. Read what Daniel Millstone has to say about S-CHIP here on the DMI blog.
The percentage of children living in poor and low-income families is stunning: 56% according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. S-CHIP raises the eligibility for families. 200% of poverty is about $41,000 for a family of 4. It takes that amount just to meet basic needs.
Government estimates do not predict that children will be moving from private health care to S-CHIP. In fact 3.2 million of the 3.8 million children that would have been helped by this bill come from families with incomes below present eligibility. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "The various provisions to maintain and expand children’s health coverage would cost $34.9 billion over five years, with these costs fully offset by an increase in federal tobacco taxes. In fact, the CBO estimates show the bill would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over the next five years." Reduce the deficit and help children get health care! Now, that is a win-win situation.
Even Republicans are confused by the President's veto. According to the New York Times, Republican Senator Gordon Smith called the veto "an irresponsible use of the veto pen" and Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a Republican from Utah, remarked that he believed that "some have given the President bad advice on this matter." It's time for the President to join Democrats, Republicans, and the American people in supporting health care for all of America's children and let go of his wrong-headed adherence to the conservative agenda.