Flash Reports’ Praise of Bush’s SCHIP Veto; More Proof Republicans Have No Heart

On today’s Flash Report, in a post on related to the troubles in the mortgage industry, Jon Fleischman praised President Bush’s veto of the SCHIP bill as a “commitment to fiscal prudence.”

Fiscal prudence versus the political prudence of a program supported by 72 percent of all Americans (or about the same percentage that thinks he’s going a less than fantastic job). For Jon’s benefits, here’s what Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post had to say about it today.

Bush’s Veto Lies 

By Eugene Robinson Friday, October 5, 2007; A21

To say that George W. Bush spends money like a drunken sailor is to insult every gin-soaked patron of every dockside dive in every dubious port of call. If Bush gets his way, the cost of his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon reach a mind-blowing $600 billion. Despite turning a budget surplus into a huge deficit, the man still hasn’t met a tax cut he doesn’t like. And when the Republicans were in charge of Congress, Bush might as well have signed their pork-stuffed spending bills with a one-word rubber stamp: “Whatever.”

So for Bush to get religion on fiscal responsibility at this late date is, well, a joke. And for him to make his stand on a measure that would have provided health insurance to needy children is a punch line that hasn’t left many Republicans laughing.

Bush’s veto Wednesday of a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program was infuriatingly bad policy. An estimated 9 million children in this country are not covered by health insurance — a circumstance that should shock the consciences of every American. Democrats and Republicans worked together to craft an expansion of an existing state-run program that would have provided coverage for about 4 million children who currently don’t have it.

It was one of those art-of-the-possible compromises designed to advance the ball toward what has become a national goal. Health care is arguably the biggest domestic issue in the presidential contest and, while the candidates and the country may be all over the map in terms of comprehensive solutions, there’s a pretty broad consensus that some way has to be found to ensure that children, at least, are covered.

Make that an extremely broad consensus: According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week, 72 percent of Americans supported the bill Bush vetoed.

The program Congress voted to expand provides health insurance for children who fall into a perilous gap: Their families make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but don’t make enough to afford health insurance. The cost of covering an additional 4 million children was estimated at around $35 billion over five years. That’s a lot of money. But in the context of a $13 trillion economy — and set against Bush’s history of devil-may-care, “buy the house another round” spending — it’s chump change.

Bush’s stated reasons for vetoing the SCHIP bill left even reliable congressional allies — such as Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Charles Grassley of Iowa, both of whom supported the legislation — sputtering in incomprehension. As for me, I don’t know what to call the president’s rationale but a pack of flat-out lies.

The president said Congress was trying to “federalize health care,” even though the program in question is run by the states. The president said that “I don’t want the federal government making decisions for doctors and customers,” even though the vetoed bill authorizes no such decisions — the program enrolls children in private, I repeat, private, health insurance plans.

And here’s my favorite: “This program expands coverage, federal coverage, up to families earning $83,000 a year. That doesn’t sound poor to me.” But the bill he vetoed prohibits states from using the program to aid families who make more than three times the federal poverty limit, or about $60,000 a year for a family of four. Most of the aid would go to families earning substantially less.

Bush’s spurious $83,000 figure comes from a request by New York state to use the program for some families earning four times the poverty limit. That request was denied by the Bush administration last month — and that upper limit is not in the bill Bush vetoed. End of story. If New York or any other state were to ask again to be able to raise the income limits, the administration could simply say no.

Bush seems to be upset that Congress didn’t adopt his pet idea to tackle the health insurance issue through — guess what? — tax breaks. None of the major players on Capitol Hill thought this would work. When the White House persisted, Congress moved ahead on its own.

Hatch said he believed Bush had been given bad advice by his staff. He didn’t take the next step and draw what seems to me the obvious conclusion: Either Bush didn’t understand the bill he vetoed or he’s just being petulant — with the health of 4 million children at stake.

“I hope the folks at home raise Cain,” Hatch said. Oh, I think they will.

  4 comments for “Flash Reports’ Praise of Bush’s SCHIP Veto; More Proof Republicans Have No Heart

  1. syQodem
    October 6, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Pleeeeeez… get this lying bastard and his entire administration out of here so sanity can return to government again! November ’08 can’t come soon enough. Our nation is so disgusted with Shrub and his Band of Thugs that they can’t get the elections over soon enough…

    And enough is enough… I don’t care which Democrat gains the Oval Office, or how big their majority is in both houses… let us fiscally sound, small government, states rights Democrats do what needs to be done. It’s time to Take Back America from those Hell bent on taking it over a cliff.

  2. October 7, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    So “having a heart” means encouraging people to switch private health insurance to government health insurance. “Having a heart” means increasing the number of Americans who are dependent on government.

    Where have I heard this before? Oh yes — all my life from liberals.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    October 8, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Matt — welcome back from vacation; as to your post, SCHIP does not encourage people to switch from private health insurance to government health insurance. It merely covers health insurance for children of families who don’t have private health insurance who have earnings up to three times the poverty level. Private health insurance is expensive and there are millions of families scattered across the country who don’t make $60,000 a year who benefit from his program. Instead of regurgitating talking points, why not instead learn a little more about this program that has the support of 72 percent of the American people. I’m always amazed that the party so eager to outlaw a woman’s right to choose could be so heartless to little children born into poor to low income families.

  4. just asking
    October 8, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Quality health care for children, what a leftist liberal concept!

    I guess most human beings are leftist liberals?

    Or maybe we are just progressive enough to think people, especially children deserve a healthy life. City/County/State governments already pay the bill for uninsured who don’t or can’t seek medical care until the problems become acute. Its the pay me now or pay me a lot later mentality that has hospitals and emergency rooms in such an emergency of their own. People with colds and coughs shouldn’t have to go to an emergency room for their only means of care. Children with asthma should be treated early, not when they have a life-threatining attack. But that is the reality for so many families.

    Bush is just cementing his legacy as the worst president in the history of the United States. He has been successful at turning other countries against us, not he is turning Americans against himself and the Republican party. With a little help from DeLay, Craig, and the gang!

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