President Bush has just been given another attribute: He is heartless! The list of previously stated unflattering descriptions of him is long but now he is heartless too. The reason for this is his recent veto of the newer version of the SCHIP (State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program). The original program became law ten years ago and was intended to help children in poor families with up to an annual income of $40,000. It worked, but the law came up for renewal this year and the Democrats in Congress decided to enlarge it by raising the ceiling for income in some states up to over $80,000. They were not satisfied with just adjusting the ceiling for inflation by, for example, increasing it to just $50,000. No, the Democrats apparently felt that they could pass this and force the President to sign it. After all, how could the President not sign legislation dealing with health insurance for children? So, they dared him and he did not bite. For the Democrats it is feel-good legislation while the President calls it a step towards socialized health insurance and that is why he vetoed the bill.
As of this time, the Democrats while having support from some Republicans in the House of Representatives do not have enough votes to override the President’s veto for which they need a 2/3 majority of all House members. They will now apply pressure on those Republicans who have voted against this new law to switch their votes and help them override the veto. This vote is now scheduled for October 18. It will be interesting to see how much vote-switching will take place on that day and it will be an indication of how much arm-twisting and pork barrel trading will go on.
We here at ‘Back to Common Sense’ like to look at this entire issue soberly and analyze it from our standpoint of neutrality based on common sense: The original law was well-intentioned in that it helped out those families or even single parents that were struggling above the acknowledged ‘poverty line’, i.e. about $20,000. It is hard for these people to provide health insurance for themselves and their children because their income is above the level where they would be eligible for Medicaid. So, the ceiling for this program was set at 200 percent of the poverty level and this is how it’s eligibility level was for approx. $40,000. It was a well-intentioned effort to help the folks in this income group and we consider it compassionate and proper!
Had the law simple remained the same in its coverage parameters, there would have been no dispute about the renewal with the appropriate funding required to service such provisions. But no, the Democrats could not leave it alone, they had to change it and raise the ceiling to twice the previous levels. And they were not questioned about it. Nobody in the media felt it apparently worthy to ask the questions we are now asking here:
· Why do think you have to give this benefit to families with incomes over $80,000 a year?
· What was wrong with the previous ceiling for coverage?
· Why do you draw the line at artificial percentage levels, ergo 400 percent?
· Do you truly believe that a family with an $80,000 annual income cannot afford to provide their own health insurance?
· What do you have in mind for families with income up to $100,000/year? Will you cover them when the law has to be renewed in five years?
· Why do you think it proper that a family at such an income level should take its children off their family health plans so they can join SCHIP?
· Can you tell us when you plan to provide health insurance for ALL children in America?
We believe that the issue of money for the program was not a problem. This President has not shown in previous years that he cares more about the budget than anything else. To the contrary, he has been and is being accused of not showing fiscal responsibility. But his concern that this is a step towards socialized health insurance cannot be denied just because it only involves the children of America. The Democrat’s planned to pay for this expanded program with a tax increase on tobacco products by raising for instance the price of a pack of cigarettes by $0.61. Therefore, the smokers in America would have to pay for health insurance for children of families with higher incomes. Considering the fact that a great number of poor or should we say poorer people do smoke, should we believe it fair to make them pay for this benefit to higher income families?
In conclusion, we here find it sad that such issues always get politicized and emotionally charged between the Democrats and the Republicans without bringing the underlying reasons for or against such new programs out in the open. Unfortunately, the media that could play this roll for the benefit of the American people are not interested in doing this. Their own beliefs and views, being overwhelmingly liberal, are generally in sync with the Democrats and they simply go along with their proposals for bigger government.
This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation. It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material. We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.