Newpaper Editorials Decry Possible SCHIP Veto

HT to Speaker Pelosi’s office:

Washington Post Editorial: “Children’s Health Check”

October 1, 2007 

“President Bush appears determined to veto the $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program that the House and Senate approved last week… “The administration’s proposal, to increase spending by less than $5 billion over five years, would fall $14 billion short of what’s needed to maintain existing coverage in SCHIP alone — never mind adding the millions of eligible but uncovered children the president once said he was determined to sign up. Where’s the commitment in that?”

Austin American Statesman Editorial: “For many kids, the doctor is not in”

October 1, 2007 

“President Bush has vowed to veto a bill just passed by bi-partisan majorities in Congress that would expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program at a cost of $35 billion over the next five years, or $7 billion per year. The 10-year-old program provides health insurance for the children of parents who work but who cannot afford health insurance… “The president’s concern with cost also loses force considering that Defense Secretary Bob Gates last week asked Congress for another $42 billion for the war in Iraq, bringing to almost $190 billion what the administration expects to spend on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year alone… “Some critics have noted the CHIP bill would raise cigarette taxes by 61 cents a pack to offset the higher cost of expanding the program. The tax increase would fall heaviest on lower-income people who smoke… “But at least Congress is trying to pay for the additional spending. The Bush administration hasn’t asked the American people for a single nickel more in higher taxes to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars the nation is pouring into Iraq…

“Another objection that Bush and others have to the bill is that it would expand the role of government in providing medical care. However, the terror of socialized medicine also loses force if that’s the only kind you can get for your kids… “Unfortunately, the free enterprise market has failed to come up with a way to provide most lower income workers with affordable health insurance or medical care, and no one yet has produced a compelling moral argument for why their children are any less deserving of medical care than those whose parents can afford it… “But in getting the nation’s fiscal house in order, we shouldn’t start by locking out the kids.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Editorial: “Kids lose out to politics”

September 30, 2007 

“As the week ended, President Bush was poised to veto a modest expansion of the 10-year-old State Children’s Health Insurance Program that had passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support… “After saying little or nothing about the program in his first six years in office, the president suddenly decided that making health insurance more available for children constitutes government intrusion into the private marketplace. “Of course, that concept didn’t seem to bother him when he championed a massive expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs for the elderly, a program that will cost the federal government roughly 10 times what any expansion of children’s health insurance would. Then again, that was before his re-election, and senior citizens vote… “Republicans have always held that states should be the laboratory of experimentation, and they’re right. In fact, the flexibility offered states by the federal program helps explain why a number of GOP governors are pushing for its expansion.”

Chicago Tribune Editorial: “A sound children’s health bill”

September 30, 2007

“Last week, Congress overwhelmingly passed a $35 billion expansion over five years to boost the enrollment in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) from 6.6 million to 10 million… “We urge President Bush to sign the measure. If he vetoes it, Congress should override that decision. We share the concern over stealthy leaps toward government-sponsored universal health coverage. But this bill doesn’t do that. It’s a reasonable expansion of a vital program.”

New York Times Editorial: “Overcoming a Veto and Helping Children” 

September 29, 2007

“Unless President Bush backs away from his threat to veto a significant expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, it will be incumbent on all Republicans in the House who value health care over ideological warfare to summon the courage and vote to override him… “The measure, which would increase federal funding for the program by $35 billion over the next five years, is the product of intense bipartisan negotiations that included prominent Republicans in the Senate, led by Charles Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah. It has been endorsed by governors from both parties and by a wide array of organizations, including the American Medical Association and the chief lobbying groups for private insurance plans and for senior citizens… “Mr. Bush seems determined to use the children’s program to take a stand against what he calls ”an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care for every American.” He would rather sacrifice the health of uninsured children than yield an inch of ideological ground. House Republicans ought to take a more humane approach and override the president’s blinkered obstinacy.”

Daily News (New York) Editorial: “Presidential Malpractice”

September 29, 2007

“President Bush is threatening to veto legislation with broad bipartisan support that would extend health coverage to millions of uninsured children. He’s wrong – dead wrong… “After seven years of zero leadership on health care, Bush fatuously claims SCHIP will start America on the road to socialized medicine. And he’s so ideologically adamant that he’s refusing to pony up enough money even to pay for all the kids who are covered by SCHIP today. “Bush, who has presided over an explosion of federal spending without raising his veto pen, says he has finally had enough. And his target is poor kids. He ought to be ashamed.” 

Sacramento Bee Editorial: “The SCHIPs are down”

September 28, 2007

“Both houses of Congress have passed a compromise bill that would continue health insurance coverage for 6.6 million children — and cover 4 million more children who remain uninsured because their parents don’t get insurance through jobs and can’t afford it on their own…  “Now, Americans will have to prevail upon President Bush to sign House Resolution 976. He has promised a veto. He opposed the bill not because of its cost, but because he believes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program may cause some parents to drop private insurance for their kids to obtain SCHIP coverage…  “The 10th anniversary of SCHIP should be a cause for celebration. This successful, bipartisan program has improved the nation’s health insurance coverage of children. Bush could have a part in this shared success story by signing H.R. 976.” 

Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio) Editorial: “SCHIP at the brink” 

September 28, 2007 

“The thinking in Washington long has been: There’s no way Congress or the Bush White House will allow the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to die when the law expires on Sunday. The program has been too successful and enjoys too much bipartisan support… “Bush has persisted in describing the bill as too costly and little more than a thinly disguised bid for government-run, ”socialized” medicine. The charges are misleading at best. They fly in the face of the facts in the bipartisan agreement that emerged from House and Senate negotiations… “In short, as census trends signal an increase in the number of uninsured children, the compromise bill takes long strides toward the goal of reducing responsibly the rate of uninsurance among children, a goal the president insists he supports… 

“The president prefers spending $5 billion, a funding level that would create shortfalls in several states, even at current program levels. In objecting to the expense of $35 billion for five years, he raises a question of priorities. Tellingly, the country spends that sum in 31/2 months fighting the war in Iraq…     “If Bush keeps his veto pledge, Congress must seek to override, and if it fails, as is likely, consider temporary steps to keep SCHIP and the battles running.” 

USA Today Editorial: “Plan to protect kids’ health spawns needless veto fight”     

September 27, 2007

“The argument between Congress and President Bush over whether to expand health insurance for low-income children should have an easy answer: Yes… “Of the estimated 47 million people in the USA without health coverage, at least 5 million are kids whose families make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance. “The president’s alternative is to renew SCHIP by spending an additional $5 billion over the next five years. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says this wouldn’t even support coverage of kids already in the program… 

“At the last minute, the administration says that instead of expanding SCHIP, the nation should have a broader debate about health policy. Indeed it should, but that’s unlikely to produce results before the next election. In the meantime, Congress has produced a reasonable compromise to keep millions of kids from falling through the cracks.”

Charlotte Observer (North Carolina) Editorial: “Vote for healthy kids”

September 27, 2007

“Importantly, this bill is the result of negotiations between Democrats and prominent Senate Republicans. It has gotten the support of the health insurance industry, the AARP, the American Medical Association, governors from both parties and numerous children’s health advocates. All these lawmakers and groups recognize what President Bush stubbornly refuses to — that a nation as prosperous as ours should not allow children to be without health coverage. The situation invites child neglect and makes it more likely that serious health problems will go untreated. It jeopardizes their futures and the continued prosperity of the entire country… “But President Bush threatens to veto the bill, calling it a move toward socialized health care…

“The president is wrong… “Children need the best start in life they can get. Yet every 47 seconds, a U.S. baby is born without health insurance. Congress and the president must say loudly that this is unconscionable. A vote for this bill would do so.”

Des Moines Register Editorial: “Don’t abandon kids needing health care”

September 27, 2007 

“President Bush has approved spending billions of dollars on the war in Iraq. He saddled taxpayers with an expensive Medicare prescription-drug program that prohibits the government from negotiating cheaper drug prices. He has overseen a huge increase in the federal deficit… “But he’s drawing a spending line – on health care for children, of all things… “President Bush should be ashamed of himself for his repeated threats to veto legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). He should sign the legislation reauthorizing this successful program when it lands on his desk… “It’s difficult to understand the president’s continued opposition… “For someone who insisted on leaving no child behind in education, he sure seems willing to abandon them on health care.”

Charleston Gazette (West Virginia) Editorial: “Child Health – Override the president”  

September 27, 2007

“President Bush threatens to veto a bill to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, on grounds that it expands coverage too much… “It’s shameful that America has no universal medical insurance and has 45 million people without coverage. It’s more shameful that the White House may cold-heartedly reject this attempt to protect more kids. So much for “compassionate conservatism”… “Children who aren’t healthy cannot learn and live up to their potential. Parents who are not healthy cannot work and meet their obligations to their kids as fully as possible. Modern medicine has so many solutions and even prevents troublesome or life-altering conditions, but not if you cannot get through the door. Medical care is priced out of reach of many Americans and difficult to afford for many more… “There has never been a better time to override a veto. Lawmakers who do so would be showing kindness both to children and to business.” 

Houston Chronicle Editorial: “Wrong Priorities – Presidential veto of SCHIP expansion would place ideology over children’s health”

September 27, 2007

“By a 106-vote margin, the U.S. House of representatives approved a $25 billion increase in funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a move that would extend protection from 6.6 million to more than 10 million children of the working poor. The Senate approved the expansion of the popular program Thursday night… “Unfortunately, President George W. Bush has indicated he will veto the bill as an unwarranted federalization of health care. Because the margin of support in the House is two dozen votes short of the two-thirds necessary to override a veto, Bush may get his way. The administration’s plan to increase the program by only $5 billion over five years is not even adequate to keep up with inflation and rising health care costs…

“Equally unpersuasive is the administration’s argument that using increased tobacco taxes to fund SCHIP expansion puts an unfair burden on low-income smokers. Championing the right of the poor to cheap cigarettes while opposing affordable medical insurance for their children is not a rational public health policy.”

The Republican (Springfield, Mass.) Editorial: “Bush abandons kids on health insurance”

September 26, 2007 

“The difference between what Bush wants to spend on children’s health insurance and what Congress wants to spend on the program is about $6 billion a year, about what the United States spends every two weeks in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Bush wants to argue expense, he doesn’t have much of an argument… “If a Bush veto prevails, Congress should immediately schedule another vote on the CHIPS bill. In the meantime, Bush will continue to lose steam with his argument that an expansion of the program is a step “down the path to government-run health care for every American… 

“America’s Health Insurance Plans – the nation’s largest lobbying group for insurers – has rejected that argument and endorsed the legislation. Without the support of insurers, doctors and hospitals, Bush will sooner or later have to make a choice… “He’s either for kids or he’s against them.”

Connecticut Post Editorial: “Insurance change to help children”

September 26, 2007

“Too many children might get health insurance… “That apparently dire outcome is the reasoning behind President Bush’s promised veto of a measure approved Thursday by the House of Representatives that would expand a federal health insurance program. The 10-year-old State Children’s Health Insurance Program is slated to expire this weekend, and congressional leaders have approved a temporary expansion… “The program provides coverage for 6.6 million children from low-income families who live above the poverty level but whose families have trouble buying private health insurance. The expansion would add another 4 million children to the program… “The White House says the program is too expensive and would go “too far toward federalizing health care”… 
“Too expensive? This country spends billions of dollars every month to fight a war in Iraq that the majority of this country wants to end as soon as possible. We as a nation dole out multibillion-dollar funding packages to defense contractors like candy to children. We can afford health insurance for young people…  “If the president does in fact decide that health insurance for children in need is somehow a bad thing, Congress must override his veto. Let the president know where our priorities lie.”