Wednesday, October 03, 2007

BUSH VETOED CHILDREN'S HEALTH CARE AND THEN LIED ABOUT IT-- BATTLE TO OVERRIDE IS JUST STARTING

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I'm sure it came as no surprise to anyone that Bush vetoed the State Children's Health Insurance Program today. Enough Republicans voted for it in the Senate so that Bush's veto will be overridden. The House, however, is a separate problem. Even with grassroots Republican voters overwhelmingly supporting the bill-- by as much as 2 to 1!-- the House still comes up just over a dozen votes short. Democrats have decided to give themselves 2 weeks-- until October 18-- to see if they can charm or bludgeon some Republicans into voting to override. And then there are 5 renegade Democrats who often vote with the Bush agenda and have so far not announced that they will come over and vote like Democrats. So who are they:
Jim Marshall (GA)
Bob Etheridge (NC)
Mike McIntrye (NC)
Gene Taylor (MS)
Baron Hill (IN)

The Democratic leadership-- along with grassroots activists-- have already gotten other reactionary Dems, like Dan Boren, Heath Shuler, Joe Donnelly, Jim Cooper and Brad Ellsworth back onto the reservation on this issue and they will vote to override the veto. In the next few days we'll be announcing that DWT is joining with other blogger-activists to see if we can't convince the rest of the Republicrats to come back home too. You'll be hearing more about that, I guarantee you.

Someone from the DCCC called me and asked me to call out Jim Marshall. I don't think they knew what they would be getting. Do notice, however, that there are only 5 non-freshmen on the DCCC Front Line list, all reactionaries who frequently vote with the GOP on crucial matters. One is Jim Marshall, a big war-supporter and one of the Democrats most likely to abandon the party caucus on tough issues and cast his lot in with Bush. Have we had enough? You bet we have!

Rep. Howdy Doody (R-FL) is vowing to prevent more Republicans from jumping ship on this, even though the AMA, who many Republicans count on for significant campaign contributions is urging Republicans to vote to override the veto and stop their obstructionism on this important health issue.
The American Medical Association supports the Senate SCHIP bill, wrote Executive Vice President and CEO Michael D. Maves, MD, in a July 17 letter to Sen. Max Baucus (D, Mont.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the architects of the bill.

"We believe that this bipartisan proposal is a responsible, measured approach to reauthorizing and improving SCHIP," Dr. Maves wrote. He also called on the Senate panel to support funding to avert Medicare physician payment cuts in 2008 and 2009. House leaders included a provision in their SCHIP bill to stop those cuts. Dr. Maves also praised the Senate bill provision to pay for the SCHIP increase by boosting the cigarette tax.

Bush's veto of a bill supported by huge majorities in the House and Senate, by all but a small handful of backward and reactionary governors and by between 70 and 75% of the American people, further marginalizes him as a political figure anyone will take seriously in the last days of his waning and disastrous lame duck term.

Bush was widely castigated throughout America today. The Senate Democrats did a very thorough fact check on his disingenuous veto message.
President Bush: "The problem is that the current program-- and by the way, there's about a half a million children who are eligible who aren't signed up. So I said, "Why don't we focus on the poor children rather than expand the program beyond its initial intent?"

REALITY: Research Shows 6 Million Children, Not 500,000, Are Eligible for Public Coverage But Are Not Enrolled. Much of the widely-accepted research on the number of uninsured children eligible for public coverage was conducted by the Health Policy Center of the Urban Institute. These researchers have estimated that six million uninsured children are eligible for public coverage, with approximately two million eligible for CHIP and four million eligible for Medicaid. 

REALITY: The Bi-Partisan CHIP Bill is Designed to Target the Same Kids the President Says He Wants to Cover. The measure ensures that states must cover their lowest-income kids first by phasing in a new requirement for coverage of low-income children as a condition of receiving CHIP funding for coverage of children above 300 percent of the poverty level. After October 1, 2010, federal matching payments are not permitted to States that cover children whose family incomes exceed 300 percent of poverty, if the State does not meet a target for the percentage of children at or below 200 percent of poverty enrolled in CHIP. The target rate would be the average rate of insurance coverage (public and private) among the highest-ranking 10 States. In reality, CHIP focuses virtually all of its resources on children in the poorest working families, fewer than 1 in 10 kids covered under CHIP lives in a family of four earning more than $41,000 a year. In addition, our bill further prioritizes children by phasing non-pregnant adults out of the program. By vetoing the bipartisan bill, the President is continuing his policy of covering non-pregnant adults with CHIP money.

REALITY: Senator Orrin Hatch Argued 92 Percent of Kids Covered by the Bipartisan CHIP Bill Would Be Under 200 Percent of the Federal Poverty Level. "And for those who argue that it's out of control, 92 percent -- no less than 91 percent, but really 92 percent of all the kids who will be covered by this bill will be in families under 200 percent of the poverty level."

President Bush: "It is estimated by-- well, here's the thing, just so you know, this program expands coverage-- federal coverage-- up to families earning $83,000 a year. That doesn't sound poor to me. The intent of the program was to focus on poorer children, not adults or families earning up to $83,000 a year."

REALITY: No State Currently Covers Children at $83,000 and The CHIP Reauthorization Agreement Does Not Raise the Eligibility Level To Encourage States to Cover Families up to $83,000. The legislation targets funding to low-income children and actually reduces federal support for future coverage of children at higher income levels. There is nothing in the agreement that changes current law rules on interpretation and approval of appropriate income levels for eligibility above 200 percent of the federal poverty level (or 50 percent above a state's Medicaid income cap) – this decision remains one that the HHS Secretary makes, just as in the original CHIP law written by a Republican-led Congress.

President Bush: "I believe in private medicine. I believe in helping poor people, which was the intent of SCHIP-- now being expanded beyond its initial intent. I also believe that the federal government should make it easier for people to afford private insurance."

REALITY: The Bi-Partisan CHIP Compromise Combines the Best of Public and Private Approaches to Provide Health Coverage to Children. The Children's Health Insurance Program is not an entitlement program, rather, a capped block grant program for states. The program affords states great flexibility to offer coverage as they choose. The great majority of CHIP programs are modeled after private insurance and use private plans to deliver benefits. CHIP's structure in most states is similar to the Medicare prescription drug benefit, in which federal benchmarks and funds guide a program administered largely through private insurers.

Chris Dodd put it very well and very succinctly:
"This President's priorities are unconscionable. With the resources it takes to execute just over 3 months of the Iraq War, we could fully fund the expansion of health care for needy children that Bush vetoed. Indeed, today's veto is another reminder that this war is not only adversely affecting our security but also adversely affecting our other top priorities, and it's time for Congress to do what it must do to end it."

Let me leave you with an inspiring speech from a great American on this issue, someone who has worked very hard on this for many years and explains it in plain English:

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7 Comments:

At 5:15 AM, Blogger cybermome said...

Howie,

Its me ...Lee a your faithful reader and leftie yenta from outside Phila. My husband killed himself at the end of July and I w/as denied SCHIP for our 17 year old.We aren't destitute enough and we have private insurance. I am so disgusted at this so called government and want these fuckers that voted no to look me in the face. I am willing to use this tragedy and am thinking about going to DC when they re vote...
I posted this yesterday on Daily Kos. Look at the comments. Lots of people disgusted...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/3/133617/343

 
At 5:42 AM, Blogger cybermome said...

me again..

I'm watching Howdy Dowdy ( Adam Putnam) on c-span talking out of both sides of his mouth. If you aren't paying attention you would think its yet again the Democrats fault because they don't want to be bi partisan and they want to make this issue political.
I have grief over my husbands suicide, I'm not eligible for SCHIP and then I hear the above yutz's lies.I want to do something
I am so angry I am screaming at the dog.

 
At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Al said...

If you have private insurance, why should my tax dollars go to pay for SCHIP insurance for you?

This is EXACTLY the reason this bill needs to be killed. It is intended for those kids in poverty or near poverty to get coverage. I program that Democrats voted against when a Republican Congress first proposed it!

It was never intended to be a middle class entitlement!

The Democrats knew the bill would be vetoed and wasted countless hours simply to get political points. They care about the "children" only when it gives them a perceived political advantage. The Republicans are the ones who were genuinely concerned about children in poverty. The Dems are simply buying middle class votes by offering government subsidized insurance for families earning $80,000 a year! Not only that, some states are including adults in the program, taking money away from poor children who need the support. Shame on the Democrats for politicising childrens healthcare!

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger cybermome said...

How dare you?

My husband killed himself and I am on unemployment Why shouldn't my daughter not be covered by SCHIP? Just because I am not homeless?

I hope you never have to walk in my shoes.
EVERYONE deserves singlepayer healthcare especially children.

Lee

To paraphrase Kenaye West
President Bush hates all children

 
At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Al said...

I say again, if you have private insurance, why do you need taxpayer supported insurance? Your story makes no sense unless they pay a middle income salary level of unemployment in your state!

There are a lot of people who have tragedy in their life. I am sorry for the loss of your husband, but you have private insurance! Let the private insurance pay for your childs healtcare!

You have lost me somewhere along the way with this story.

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger cybermome said...

The tax $$ is mine too. And the real issue is not that I have private insurance, the issue is that ALL children should be covered . PERIOD... And I am not working...

And I don't think for one moment you santimonious shit that you care a rats ass about my husbands suicide, single mothers like me.Or children for that matter.

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations everyone on sucsessfully putting pressure on enough Members of Congress to sucsessfully override the president's veto of the SCHIP bill. Oh, wait.....that's right...the Dems blew it again!

 

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