Monday, October 22, 2007

The President Doesn't Abandon SCHIP

By Tony Vega for
Monday October 22, 2007

There are children that qualify for Medicaid and those that receive health care from their parents insurance plans, typically in conjunction with their employment. There are poor American children that fall in between this gap and receive no health insurance. The State Children’s Health Insurance Plan(SCHIP) was to bridge that gap.

In 1997 the Republican Congress enacted SCHIP as the largest expansion to health care since the 60’s. This health plan was designed to reach those that earned too much to qualify for Medicaid and those that were unable to afford private insurance. Ten years down the line today’s Democratic Congress was in charge of extending and continuing this coverage for the children. What we saw instead was political wrangling of an unprecedented magnitude. The House Speaker, the third highest ranking governmental official in the land, Nancy Pelosi makes the claim that her Congress passed a bipartisan bill before it was sent to the President’s desk. I’ll start there. A few Republicans signed onto the bill, true, but that didn’t make it a bipartisan effort. If the Legislative Branch keyed the Executive Branch in during the draft as per request then a bipartisan bill may have been possible. President Bush forewarned Congress that a veto would be forthcoming if the bill was not designed according to its intended purpose.

On October, 03rd A forwarded bill not adhering to SCHIP’s original mandate looked something like this: An inclusion of hundreds of thousands of adults, folks, that should ring some bells right there. Hey, it’s all in the title of Children’s Health Insurance. This bill also included upper income children already covered under private plans. Families in some states, specifically NY, earning upwards of 83,000 dollars per annum would have been allowed to continue to solicit for inclusion. I know, ridiculous to say the least. President Bush vetoed the measure as warned.

Next, a campaign by the left was launched. Poor, disabled children were exploited. Children in wheelchairs, children in hospitals were paraded in front of the cameras to tug on the heartstrings of America. By putting a face to those that would be most affected by a failed measure would have given credibility to the left when they blame the President for the failed measure. Shrewd indeed. The inaccuracies of such claims are tantamount to propaganda. Nancy Pelosi continued the exploitation. She began to stoke our feelings of disgust over the war in Iraq. During an interview, she consistently claimed how 40 days in Iraq would equate to 10 million children covered under the proposed bill. More bells should start ringing. It’s not about the amount of children that should be paramount here, I mean we can load up the numbers and really make it seem like we’re doing something. Why don’t we bloat the numbers and include Donald Trump’s children, or hey why not just create universal coverage for anyone under 30? It should be about the amount of children in need. Another Democratic plan that should go up in smoke is the desired manner to fund the program. A 61-cent tax hike on cigarettes is the proposed method. It’s flawed in the ideology. The prevailing theory is that an increase in tobacco prices will reduce the sale and use of cigarettes. So, is this a case of the liberals trying to have their cake and eat it too? Under this taxation plan and tobacco formula, how can the SCHIP extension sustain adequate funding? It is obviously flawed and disingenuous at best.

President Bush appears to be willing to compromise and reach a bipartisan effort to reach the children of our working poor, and the forgotten middle class. I haven’t been able to say this much as of late but, I am proud of the President’s efforts here. He has 15 months left to his term and it is obvious he is not going out as a lame duck President. Perhaps, that’s what the Democratic majority in Congress was counting on.

It appears the elite left knew no bounds during their attempt to smear the President while endeavoring to garner enough votes for an override attempt in the House. On October 18 the override attempt failed. There was one House Democrat in particular that followed Madam Speakers lead and took up the antiwar mantra. Rep. Pete Spark accused the President and the rest of the "chicken hawks" in Congress of funding the war in Iraq while not funding the children’s health plan. The self described atheist, earlier decried how the Republicans were "going to spend it(funds) to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement." This kind of rhetoric is from a senior member in his 18th term of the House, representing the East Bay near San Francisco. This is just a small sampling of the extreme and duplicitous nature of the elite left. They would rather throw these incendiary comments on the floor than face the legitimate issue at hand, the millions of uninsured children in America.

It should be obvious to anyone witnessing this debacle that the true agenda of the left is not to insure our children via the bill that was introduced. I will pull short of a Hillary Clintonesque cry of conspiracy. The true agenda was to backdoor their coveted universal health plan. Listen, we have a process. If there is merit to such a plan, debate it on the floor. Draft legislation, and introduce it as a stand-alone bill. This, of course, is a complex, hot button issue. The left is aware that most Americans don’t want Cuba, or Canada’s health care system despite Michael Moore’s movie. The alternative should not be to disguise it in SCHIP. Shame on Madam Speaker and the Democratic majority in Congress.

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