Friday, October 5

Bush Going Down with the SCHIP

A NY Times editorial spells out the misinformation that the White House is pushing to justify President Bush's vetoing of the SCHIP bill. Over the past decade, SCHIP has reduced, by one-third, the number of uninsured children in low income households a drop from 22 percent to 15 percent, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund (report).

Trying to justify his ideologically driven veto of a bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, President Bush and his staff have fired a barrage of misinformation about this valuable program. Before the House votes on whether to override the veto, all members — especially those from Mr. Bush’s party who say they are concerned about millions of uninsured children — must "look behind the rhetoric.

A couple of quotable statements from the editorial:

"The White House declined overtures to join in consultations while the bill was being framed, according to Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican sponsor. Like so many other things that Mr. Bush has gotten disastrously wrong, he’d already made up his mind and had no interest in listening to others’ arguments."

"Perhaps the most eye-catching argument from the president is that the vetoed bill would have allowed S-chip to cover children in families earning $83,000 a year. That claim hangs on the extremely flimsy thread that New York — where insurance and living costs are higher than in many other parts of the country — has proposed extending the eligibility level to 400 percent of poverty, or $82,600 for a family of four. As far as most states are concerned, the bill would discourage covering such children, by allowing the enhanced S-chip match only up to 300 percent of the poverty level."

Though the program officially expired on Sept. 30, emergency funds currently allow the program to continue at least for the time being.

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