Friday, November 9, 2007

Bush Attacked Over Veto

While I have not necessarily been a big Bush supporter, I was appalled by a recent attack add on him and a local senator. It stated that Bush's recent veto of the State Child Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) Bill was going to "hurt" children and implied that the veto came from unconcern for American children.

Lets look at the bill in question. First, the bill does not cover only low income children but also middle class children and adults. Second, after the initial round of children are signed up for the program, a full fifty percent of continuing enrollment would be children who would have otherwise had private coverage. So the bill inherently switches people from private insurance to state insurance without cause. Third, while it uses language about offering premium coverage in order to entice interest, it allows multiple coverage options while keeping current red tape in place, making premium coverage a less sustainable or viable option for states to choose. Fourth, while it is ostensibly to be paid for by taxing tobacco use, the reality is that this tax is unsustainable and therefore, more federal funding would be needed in the future, with some estimates as high as $59.3 Billion by 2012 (four years away). By comparison, the entire War on Terror has cost (by high estimates) around $400 Billion (over six years). Fifth, by including a clause that allows federal grants to support states that exceed their allotment, it discourages fiscal responsibility.

There are a number of problems with the bill. It would move us ever closer to state control of healthcare at tax-payer expense. It would move us ever closer to socialism. If any sort of bill offering state health coverage should pass, it would need to be one that solves these issues. President Bush also stated at the time he vetoed the bill that if the two major parties would work together and clean up the bill, he would pass it. In its present form, he could not let it be signed into law. I believe he did the right thing.

So if any are "hurting children," who are they? I would suggest it is not the President and his veto, but those selfish Senators and Representatives who passed a bill that was fiscally irresponsible and forced the President's hand; and who are now using the issue to smear him and others of an opposing party in order to gain political clout.

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